TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — According to the Council of Agriculture, there are less than 1,000 of Taiwan’s endemic crested myna, listed as a Class II rare and valuable species, per PTS.
Unfortunately, close cousins of the endemic species that are invasive, such as Javan myna and foreign crested myna, are flourishing, with dozens following rice threshers engaged in the first rice harvest of the year.
The invasive species are not afraid of noisy machinery, as they are eager to pluck at freshly unearthed bugs and worms. "When we are done threshing the rice, small worms come out, and the birds will eat them," said a local farmer surnamed Liu (劉).
Crested myna are known for their coal-black feathers and are present in Taiwan’s rural areas. The invasive species is highly adaptable to human environments and can breed in drainage holes on slopes and other areas.
The presence of the invasive crested myna and the Javan myna is decreasing the habitat of the endemic species. Bird watchers say that the beaks of the endemic species are different from the yellow beaks of the invasive species, making them easy to identify.
Educating the public about the plight of the endemic crested myna is one way to help them survive amongst invasive species, though their scarcity leads some to believe that they can not hold on for much longer.