Pacific Biosciences Research Center


University of Hawaii at Manoa

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About Mynahs

The Birds of PBRC


Manu fell out of his nest in May, 1994 when he was about two weeks old. He was found on the ground in the middle of the night being attacked by a cat. Despite serious injuries and occassional ineptitude on the part of his new parents, Manu has grown into a handsome, intelligent and lively adult mynah.

To date, Manu's only words are cute, what? and come on. He has, however, mastered the wolf-whistle and his use of it is gender-indiscriminate.


Maka arrived at our doorstep in a shoebox in June 1998, and though she didn't look like she would survive, she did! From the beginning, she had a "lazy leg," and even now, when she stands on your head, it slides down your forehead.

Maka is short for Makamae, which is the Hawaiian word for precious or treasured. Her name suits her as she has grown into a fluffy, sweet bird who spends the better part of her days singing. The only words that she can say, she learned from her older friend Manu, whom she adores, imitates and follows at every opportunity. (Like many big brothers, Manu feigns disinterest, but we think he secretly enjoys the role.)

Skinny B
Skinny B was found on February 13, 1999 at an outdoor campus eating area stealing food from patrons, a behavior most uncharacteristic of the ever-wary mynah. It turned out that he was an escaped pet whose owner, when found, was not able to take him back. (She did fill us in on his history: he came to her as an abandoned nestling, about a year before his escape, and he had been wild about 5 weeks when we found him.)

His first words when offered a cage were "good boy!" followed shortly thereafter with "boca" (pronounced bo-cha) which is the word used for bath in local families with young children.

Skinny B or Skinny Beany or Speeb, as he calls himself, has a phenomenal vocabulary and repertoire of phrases and sounds learned from his first home. He greets people with "hi babe, whatcha doing" and "who loves skinny baby?"

Unfortunately, his time in the wild seems to have left him somewhat aggressive, but he is very slowly becoming more relaxed and learning to trust us.


Little Ray

Ed was a Red-vented Bulbul that we found on the ground shortly after she left the nest and she was too young to fly or care for herself. Repeated attempts to return Ed to her natural parents were not successful so we adopted her.

During her year with us, Ed's companion was Manu, a mynah bird. Ed and Manu had an uneasy relationship in which the mynah's greater strength and aggressiveness were matched by the bulbul's speed and agility. They eventually learned to coexist in relative harmony.

One day, about a year after we found Ed, we left them alone out of their cages for a few minutes. When we returned, we found that Ed had escaped out of a window that had been left partially opened. Though we searched for over one week, we never saw her again. Manu denies it, but we think he may have shown her the open window...





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