Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
Southern Hill Myna Gracula religiosa indica
The Hill Myna, Gracula religiosa, is a member of the starling family.
This myna is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and has been introduced to the USA.
The races found in the Western Ghats of India and in Sri Lanka, G. r. indica and G. r. ptilogenys , have recently been split off as a separate species, the Southern Hill Myna (Gracula indica) and the Ceylon Hill Myna (Gracula ptilogenys).
These 25-29 cm long birds have green-glossed black plumage, purple-tinged on the head and neck. There are large white wing patches which are obvious in flight. The bill and strong legs are bright yellow, and there are yellow wattles on the nape and under the eye, which are separate in the Southern Hill Myna, but joined in other forms. The sexes are similar, but juveniles have a duller bill. They are often detected by their loud shrill descending whistles followed by other calls. They are most vocal at dawn and dusk and they are found in forest clearings high on the canopy in small groups.
Like most starlings, the Hill Myna is fairly omnivorous, eating fruit, nectar and insects.
The Hill Myna is a popular cage bird, renowned for its ability to imitate speech. Demand in the West outstrips breeding capacity so they are rarely found in pet stores. They are becoming increasingly rare in their native countries due to capture for the illegal pet trade.
- Birds of India by Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, ISBN 0-691-04910-6