Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Critically Endangered

Grey-backed Myna (Acridotheres tricolor)


French: Martin tricolore German: Graurückenmaina Spanish: Miná tricolor

Pastor tricolor


, 1821,

Java = eastern Java


Hitherto treated as conspecific with A. melanopterus and A. tertius, but differs from latter in characters given under that species (which see), and from former in its grey vs white mantle to rump (3); black vs white greater coverts and frontally white, distally black vs all-white scapulars (3); purer white (no yellowish tinge to) crown feathers and often breast, vent and tail tips (1); slightly shorter bill (effect size −0.64, score 1); narrow area of hybridization occurs just SE of Surabaya, e.g. Gunung Arjuno (2). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

SE Java (E of Tosari), formerly widespread but currently recorded only in Baluran National Park and Alas Purwo National Park.

Descriptive notes

23 cm. Small myna with striking black-and-white plumage; feathers of forehead, crown and nape hackled, and nape feathers elongated to form erectile crest. Adult has lower... read more


Loud, harsh whistles. Vocalizations not known to differ significantly from those of A.... read more


Cultivated lands, pasture, savannas, also monsoon forest; locally to 2400 m.

Food and feeding

Diet fruit, nectar and insects. Forages in trees; also on the ground in grassland and on beach. In pairs and small flocks.


Little available information. Presumably much as for A. melanopterus. Nest in hole in rock or tree.


Resident; perhaps some local movements in response to flowering and fruiting of forest trees.

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. This species, common in the E Java plains (E of Gunung Bromo) in the mid-20th century, is now very rare and local. Its global population is now judged... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Grey-backed Myna (Acridotheres tricolor). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).