Hill myna

Gracula religiosa subfamily

Sturninae taxonomy

Gracula religiosa Linnaeus, 1758. Seven races recognized. other common names

English: Indian hill mynah, common grackle, grackle, talking mynah; French: Mainate religieux; German: Beo, kleinbeo; Spanish: Mainá del Himalaya.

physical characteristics

11.0-11.8 in (28-30 cm). Black with a heavy orange-yellow bill, feet, and fleshy wattles below each eye and on the nape;

rounded black wings with a white stripe running midway through the primaries.


Southern Asia; India east to southern China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indochina, through the Greater and Lesser Sunda islands, east to Alor and Palawan in the Philippines. Population on St. Helena may be introduced; introduced and breeding on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, and in Florida, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.


Found in areas of lush vegetation and high rainfall, especially at edges of lush forest, but also within dense forest, second growth, and cultivated areas; most common at elevations of 900-6,000 ft (275-1,825 m).


Very arboreal; hop rather than walk; very vocal. feeding ecology and diet

Mainly frugivorous, but also opportunistic, taking nectar, insects, other small animals. Focuses more on animal prey when feeding young. Regurgitates seeds, thus facilitating seed dispersal.

reproductive biology

Monogamous; breeding varies geographically from January-July; nests in natural cavities and bird boxes; both sexes aid in constructing a crude nest of small twigs, leaves, and feathers. Clutch size two to three light blue to blue-green eggs with brown to lavender spotting; incubation by both sexes for 13-17 days; parental care by both adults; young fledge at 25-28 days; post-fledging care is minimal. May produce as many as three broods per year in some areas.

conservation status

Not threatened. Listed on CITES Appendix II. Some concern over excessive capture of birds for the pet trade.

significance to humans

Once commonly eaten, now a very popular cage bird because of their ability to mimic the human voice. May be important pollinators of forest trees. ♦

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