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People Become Fascinated with Their Ability


hen folks think about birds that talk, they pretty much are thinking about parrots, macaws and cockatoos. But those who know about all varieties of talking birds tell us that one of the best talkers (mimics) is the Mynah Bird. We were anxious to learn more about the Mynah bird... and, here's some of what we found out.

"First of all, Mynahs are great pets. They live well in small to medium-sized cages and require relatively little maintenance. But, while they are fantastic talkers, they are not a pet that likes to be handled a great deal. They may flutter in their cages when irritated or nervous. They are very intelligent, but not as affectionate as your parrots. In fact, they are more closely related to the jay and the raven then they are to the parrot. Mynahs are a soft-bill, whereas your parrots are hook-bills, or psittachines.

Historically speaking, Mynahs have been considered pets in the United States for 150 to 200 years. In fact, this is probably longer than parrots have been kept as pets. Mynahs are great talkers, and people became fascinated with their ability, immediately.

Like all talking birds, they don't understand the actual words. They pick up on a tone or signal and that initiates the 'talking.' What birds do is mimic the sound that they hear. Mynahs just happen to be very good at this, and very quick. The tone quality may not be as clear as the tone quality of a parrot, but the Mynah will learn quicker than the parrot. In fact, they can pick up a sound after having heard it only once or twice.

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The Mynah originated in Southeast Asia, spread throughout the orient, and then to India. These birds are bred domestically now, but some are still imported. When you buy one for a pet, it will cost you more (around $500 plus) to get a domestic baby then it will cost to get an older import ($250). However... the young, domestically-bred baby will probably talk a little more, and stands a chance of being healthier. There are many different types of Mynahs in existence, and as you might expect, the rarer the type you want, the more you will have to pay.

As for their care and maintenance... they can be a little sloppy when they eat, but they really don't require much more time or investment, other than the initial cost. Soft-bills such as the Mynah, primarily eat fruit in the wild. In captivity you can buy a pelleted food that contains all of the necessary nutrients for good health. They only eat from one-half to three-fourths of a cup of food a day. Mynahs have very little tolerance for iron, so it is advised that you don't feed them leafy green vegetables. Something else that isn't widely known is that Mynahs are very sun-sensitive. Never place their cage in direct sunlight.

Buying a Mynah is a big investment but they live anywhere from 15 to 20 years or more. Many have actually lived noticeably longer than that and nearly always maintained their ability to talk the whole time. They are said to be terrific companions and overall great pets and are highly recommended.

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