OFiLE Herring Gull

The large and heavily built herring gull is a versatile bird, equally equipped to soar the skies, "sail" the seas and stroll about on the ground.

Bill

Wings

The heavy, hooked bill is adapted to the gull's predatory lifestyle. The bill is also _ ^ powerful enough to tear

Red spot

into tough carrion.

The gull flies strongly on its long wings. It also soars on rising currents of warm air and updrafts from steep, rocky coasts.

Red spot

The red spot on the gull's lower mandible plays an important role in the feeding of the young. A chick taps the spot with its bill to signal that it wants to be fed.

In autumn, after the breeding season, the male molts his white head feathers to reveal a darker, streaked head and neck.

Legs & feet

Powered by webbed feet, the gull swims well, riding high in the water. On land, its short legs give it a less elegant gait than smaller gulls.

In autumn, after the breeding season, the male molts his white head feathers to reveal a darker, streaked head and neck.

creature comparisons creature comparisons

Even the larger male herring gulls are dwarfed by the great black-backed gull, Larus marinus, which may reach 2.5' from head to tail. More powerfully built than the herring gull, the great black-backed gull's head and neck are thickset and its wingbeats are very deep and powerful.

In the breeding season, the predatory great black-backed gull feeds almost exclusively on seabirds and, if available, small mammals. It also frequents dumps and scavenges around fishing ports for scraps.

Herring gull ft

Great black-backed gull

ViTAL STATiSTiCS

weight

1.5-3 lbs.

Length

1.8-2.2'

Wingspan

4-5'

sexual

3-7 years;

Maturity

usually 5 years

Breeding

April-June

season

Number

2 or 3

of Eggs

Incubation

28-30 days

period

Fledging

40-45 days

Period

Breeding

1 year

Interval

Typical

Fish, shellfish,

Diet

worms; small

mammals, birds;

plant matter;

scraps

Lifespan

Up to 32 years

RELATED SPECiES

• The herring gull is one of 47 gull species in the family Laridae. Another member is the striking swallow-tailed gull, Creagrus furcatus (below), from the Galapagos Islands. The herring gull's relations in the order Charadriiformes include terns and skuas.

Hill Mynah

Passeriformes

Sturnidae

GENUS & SPECIES

Gracula religiosa

Passeriformes

Sturnidae

GENUS & SPECIES

Gracula religiosa

KEY FEATURES

• A colorful relative of the European starling

• Feasts on the fruit and nectar of tropical trees; in return, it propagates the seeds Extremely noisy, with a vocabulary of whistles, wails and squawks; a superb mimic in captivity Roosts are so packed, birds fight over perches r

WHERE IN THE WORLD!

Found from India and Sri Lanka to southeastern China and south to Borneo, Java and Sumatra; also occurs on some small islands in Indian Ocean

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BEHAVIOR -

Colorful flocks of hill mynahs are among the most evocative sights in Asia's tropical forests, since the mynahs constantly call to each other and are almost always on the move.

Colorful flocks of hill mynahs are among the most evocative sights in Asia's tropical forests, since the mynahs constantly call to each other and are almost always on the move.

The hill mynah is found in the A. Forest fare lush tropical woodlands and Fruits, flowers and insects forests of Southeast Asia. It abound in the treetops. descends from the canopy only occasionally and avoids the densest jungle, preferring clearings or areas of forest edge.The mynah also visits plantations and other cultivated areas around villages, and is often seen near streams or pools, where it bathes daily to clean sticky fruit juices from its plumage.

The largest populations of the hill mynah occur on the forested lower slopes of mountain ranges, including sites at up to 6,600' in the Himalayas, but the species is also common on lowland plains.

% Apart from the human voice, captive hill mynahs have learned to imitate the sounds of footsteps, ringing telephones, creaking doors, car horns, dripping taps and even church bells.

The hill mynah learns some of its calls by copying its parents when it is very young.

Escaped pet mynahs have established a small feral population in Florida.

Although the hill mynah is able to mimic the human voice so expertly in captivity, it does not imitate the sounds of other animals when in the wild. However; it does copy the calls of neighboring mynahs. Consequently, mynahs living together in one area can be distinguished from those in another simply by listening to the unique "dialect," or localized calls, used by each area's birds. Every hill mynah uses 15 or so musical whistles and harsh squawks.

The hill mynah is a sociable and energetic bird that spends most of its time in small, fast-moving flocks. The largest (and loudest) flocks, sometimes hundreds strong, are those that form at the species' traditional roost sites. At dusk, amid a cacophony of raucous calling, mynahs congregate at favored trees and fight for space on the highest, bare branches. As night falls, the birds split up and fly to individual perches in tree trunk cavities or on sheltered branches close to the trunk.

Compared to most medium-sized birds, the hill mynah is quite curious and fearless and investigates any loud or strange sounds.

Compared to most medium-sized birds, the hill mynah is quite curious and fearless and investigates any loud or strange sounds.

A Going to ground

Fallen fruit and water entice the mynah to leave its tree.

514 Hill Mynah food & feeding food & feeding

Wild figs are the hill mynah's favorite food, and are gathered by the hundreds when the fig trees are in full fruit.The mynah flies from tree to tree to track down the ripest fruit. It swallows small fruits whole but has to slice larger ones apart with its powerful bill, before devouring each segment.The hill mynah is also fond of nectar;the energy-rich liquid dispensed by flowers in exchange for pollination by insects, birds and mammals. When a mynah pushes its bill into a flower to reach the nectar inside, pollen sticks to its head. This pollen is then transferred to the blooms of the next tree visited by the bird.

The hill mynah supplements its mainly vegetarian diet by hunting insects; it flies into swarms of termites and snaps them up in midair From time to time, the mynah even hunts small rodents and lizards, killing them with hammer blows from its bill.

sowing the seed sowing the seed

A hill mynah spots a tree laden with ripe figs and lands on an exposed branch to gorge itself.

A hill mynah spots a tree laden with ripe figs and lands on an exposed branch to gorge itself.

Q Feed.

The mynah is interested only in the fig's juicy flesh but cannot avoid swallowing some of its seeds.

Deposit.

The fruit is easy to digest, but the hard seeds pass through the bird's digestive system still intact.

Q Feed.

The mynah is interested only in the fig's juicy flesh but cannot avoid swallowing some of its seeds.

Deposit.

The fruit is easy to digest, but the hard seeds pass through the bird's digestive system still intact.

Germinate

The bird's nitrogen-rich droppings act as fertilizer, so that a few seeds grow into new fig trees.

Germinate

The bird's nitrogen-rich droppings act as fertilizer, so that a few seeds grow into new fig trees.

breeding conservation

The hill mynah is scarce in some parts of its range due to huge numbers of chicks being taken from nests to be sold as pets, but the mynah is not endangered. Stricter laws controlling the trade in cagebirds have at last been passed, which should lead to a gradual recovery of mynah populations.

Male and female hill mynahs pair for life and nest in bustling colonies. Quarrels over nest sites, located 33-50' above ground level, are boisterous but rarely cause injury. Once a pair of mynahs has established a site, only a small area around the nest is defended against other birds. In fact, several pairs may breed in the same tree.

The hill mynah nests in an old tree hole, often made by a woodpecker; and lines it with twigs, grass, leaves and feathers.Two or three naked and blind chicks hatch after an incubation of 2-3 weeks. Insects rather than fruit form the bulk of the chicks' diet, but by the time they leave the nest, 3-4 weeks later; the young Marathon task are feeding on fruit, flower buds Adult mynahs seek food and nectar as well. nonstop for their chicks.

ofile Hill Mynah

Thanks to its eye-catching plumage and raucous calls, the hill mynah is hard to miss — even its wings make a noise as it flies overhead.

Bill

The hill mynah's short but stout bill enables it to pluck and tear into a wide variety of fruits.

The glossy plumage appears mainly black at first, but iridescent green, blue and purple tones are visible from certain angles.

Javan Myna Behaviour

CREATURE COMPARISONS

Bill

The hill mynah's short but stout bill enables it to pluck and tear into a wide variety of fruits.

Wings

The large primary, or w tip, feathers make a musi cal hum in flight and have broad white markings. The hill mynah flaps its wings so deeply that their tips touch p |_ (j m ag e above and below its body.

The glossy plumage appears mainly black at first, but iridescent green, blue and purple tones are visible from certain angles.

CREATURE COMPARISONS

Hill mynah

Rothschild's mynah (Leucopsar rothschildi) and the hill mynah share compact body plans, but the former is smaller and slimmer. Sometimes known as the Bali starling, Rothschild's mynah can erect a crest of long plumes along the back of its neck. Instead of wattles, it has a bare, blue skin area between its bill and eyes. Although starlings and mynahs include some of the most abundant and adaptable birds, the cagebird trade has reduced the wild population of Rothschild's mynah to just 200, in a stretch of forest on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Rothschild's mynah viTAL sTATisTics

Weight

Length

Wingspan

Sexual Maturity

S-9.S oz, depending on subspecies

I0-I5"

I7-26"

I year

Breeding April-July

Season

Number of 2-3 Eggs

Incubation 13-19 days Period

Fledging 21-30 days Period

Typical Fruit (especial-Diet ly figs), nectar and insects, with a few small rodents and lizards

Lifespan 8-15 years

RELATED SPECiES

• The hill mynah has 11 races with varied size and wattle pattern; it's 1 of 10 mynah species in the starling family, Sturnidae. Many of the 110 species of Sturnidae, including East Africa's superb starling, Spreo superbus (below), have plumage that glints in the sunlight.

Rothschild's mynah

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