They're loud, aggressive and even pest-heavy Australia has dubbed them "flying rats".

And unfortunately for Aucklanders, myna birds are more likely to be fluttering around their back gardens than most other bird species.

The introduced species, classified as one of the three most invasive birds in the world by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, ranked as Auckland's third-most-abundant bird in just-released results of last year's nationwide Garden Bird Survey, behind house sparrows and silvereyes.

The myna is one of the world's most invasive birds.
The myna is one of the world's most invasive birds.

Nationally, the bothersome bird ranked fifth.


Survey organiser Dr Eric Spurr of Landcare Research said their higher presence in Auckland was probably due to the warmer climate.

With the exception of the famously scrappy tui, mynas could be a problem for our native birds, as they chase them away from foods and nesting sites, and destroy eggs and nestlings of other species in their territory.

Auckland was also set apart by its comparatively lower numbers of starling in gardens, while other species including the plump and colourful rock pigeon, eastern rosella, spotted dove and kereru were more numerous than in other regions.

Beside mynas, house sparrows and silvereyes, the other most commonly spotted birds in Auckland were blackbirds, tui, starlings, rock pigeons, fantails, song thrushes and eastern rosellas.

Dr Spurr is now preparing for this year's week-long survey, which gets under way this weekend.

He hopes to hear from even more participants than the 3220 surveyors who counted 106,175 birds around their sections last year - an average 33 per garden.

Grey Lynn resident Derek Tearne counted between 50 and 60 individual birds in his garden during last year's survey, most of them waxeyes and sparrows.

The amateur photographer will be ready with his camera again for this year's survey, hoping to spot something a little more colourful than his common feathered visitors.


"The most interesting bird we've ever had here was a shining cuckoo," he said.

"We were just sitting in the home office here and my partner pointed up to the tree and said, 'That's not a normal bird', ... and there it was, a shining cuckoo."

Nationally, the top 10 garden birds were house sparrows, silvereyes, starlings, blackbirds, mynas, tui, fantails, song thrushes, chaffinches and greenfinches.

Dr Spurr was interested to see whether there would be any changes in data collected this year.

"The main reason I set this survey up was to monitor native birds like fantails, tui and bellbirds, as we don't have any real idea as to what's happening to their populations and we don't really want to get into a situation where we suddenly find they are rare and endangered."

Taking part in the survey involves spending an hour watching birds in the garden, and then recording the highest number of each species seen or heard at one time.

People can contribute to the survey, running from this Saturday, June 27, to Sunday, July 5, by downloading a form or alternatively entering results directly online at

What birds are in your garden?

Auckland's 10 most common garden birds

1. House sparrow

2. Silvereye

3. Myna

4. Blackbird

5. Tui

6. Starling

7. Rock pigeon

8. Fantail

9. Song thrush

10. Eastern rosella

New Zealand's 10 most common garden birds
1. House sparrow
2. Silvereye
3. Starling
4. Blackbird
5. Myna
6. Tui
7. Fantail
8. Song thrush
9. Chaffinch
10. Greenfinch