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Diversity and distribution within the genus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sturnidae
Genus: Gracula
Linnaeus, 1758
see text
  • Eulabes

Gracula is a genus of mynas, tropical members of the starling family of birds found in southern Asia and introduced to Florida in the United States.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

Until recently only two species were recognised, G. religiosa and G. ptilogenys. Previously, all Gracula were considered to belong to a very variable species commonly called the hill myna. Three additional subspecies of G. religiosa are increasingly being considered as distinct species. Formerly, the Sri Lanka hill myna was considered to be a subspecies of the common hill myna, but today all major authorities recognise them as separate. Comparably, the Enggano, Nias and southern hill mynas have traditionally been treated as subspecies of the common hill myna; a treatment still preferred by some authorities.

Extant species[edit]

Five extant species are recognized:[1]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
GraculaPtilogenysLegge.jpg Gracula ptilogenys Sri Lanka hill myna Sri Lanka.
Gracula religiosa robusta-01.JPG Gracula religiosa Common hill myna Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, the lower Himalayas
KG SHM.jpg Gracula indica Southern hill myna southwest India and Sri Lanka
Gracula robusta - Annali del Museo civico di storia naturale di Genova (1886) (17788287234) (cropped).jpg Gracula robusta Nias hill myna Nias and other nearby islands off western Sumatra.
Gracula enganensis Enggano hill myna Enggano Island, off southwest Sumatra.

A 2020 study found that the subspecies G. religiosa miotera or Simeulue hill myna, which is endemic to Simeulue and has not been recognized in recent taxonomic arrangements aside from HBW, also likely represents a distinct species and was likely driven to extinction in the wild in the late 2010s due unsustainable collecting for the wildlife trade. The paper recommends rescuing the last genetically pure captive individuals for the purpose of captive breeding.[2]

Former species[edit]

Formerly, some authorities also considered the following species (or subspecies) as species within the genus Gracula:


These 25–30 cm long birds have glossy black plumage and large white wing patches which are obvious in flight. The bill and strong legs are bright yellow or orange, and there are yellow wattles on the head, the shape and position of which vary with species. The sexes are similar, but juveniles have a duller bill.


Hill mynahs are renowned for their ability to mimic the human voice. It has been claimed that the hill mynah is the best talking bird and the best mimic in the world.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This genus has representatives in tropical southern Asia from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia, and the common hill myna, a popular cage bird, has been introduced to the United States.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]


The hill mynas are resident breeders typically found in forest and cultivation. The nest is built in a hole and the usual clutch is two or three eggs.

Food and feeding[edit]

Like most starlings, the hill mynas are fairly omnivorous, eating fruit, nectar and insects.


  1. ^ "IOC World Bird List 7.1". IOC World Bird List Datasets. doi:10.14344/
  2. ^ Ng, Dominic Y. J.; Švejcarová, Tereza; Sadanandan, Keren R.; Ferasyi, Teuku Reza; Lee, Jessica G. H.; Prawiradilaga, Dewi M.; Ouhel, Tomáš; Ng, Elize Y. X.; Rheindt, Frank E. (2021). "Genomic and morphological data help uncover extinction-in-progress of an unsustainably traded hill myna radiation". Ibis. 163 (1): 38–51. doi:10.1111/ibi.12839. ISSN 1474-919X.
  3. ^ Butterfield, Kathy. "Owning a Mynah". The AACC Homepage. Archived from the original on 2015-07-12. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  • Grimmett, Richard; Inskipp, Carol; Inskipp, Tim (1999). Birds of India. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-04910-6.
  • Feare, Chris; Craig, Adrian (1999). Starlings and Mynas. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-7136-3961-X.

External links[edit]