A lot of early and later Australian settlers and explorers had had
Indian experiences, and they would have noticed Common Mynahs. Steamers
on their way to Australia or on their way Home usually called at Colombo
or Bombay, and people went ashore to see the sights and get away from
the bustle, noise and mess of coaling anyway.
Salim Ali's 'Book of Indian Birds' calls it Indian Myna - in Hindi
'Desi Myna'- with an accent on the e in Desi and the a in Myna,
indicating a lengthened syllable - which is why I add an h to the bird,
to remind people that it should be pronounced with a final 'ah', not an
indeterminate 'uh'. I think Kipling spells it Mina - can't be bothered
checking it on a hot afternoon.
To return to the Noisy Miners - today we saw one apparently wallowing
in dust at the foot of a gate-post at Banyule Flats. It appeared to be
dust-bathing, or even maybe anting. I saw it pick an ant from the post,
but after it flew there were no ants visible in the Miner-sized dusty
hollow it had dug out.
On 22/01/2012 2:16 PM, Philip Veerman wrote:
Yes me too but I wonder about 2 things. Would those who named it have known
of the Mynas of Asia. Then there is the obvious thing that all the other
groups of fauna discovered in Australia were either given completely new
names or the same names with the same spelling regardless how variously
related or only distantly related (being birds or mammals etc) as the forms
known in Europe. I can't think of another group given a similar but
different name to distinguish it from the known European forms.
E.g. our finches are called finches, our robins are called robins, wagtails
are called wagtails, magpies are called magpies, Thylacine called wolf or
tiger, marsupial mole called mole, wombat called badger, koala called bear,
quolls called (native) cats, Antechinus called (marsupial) mice. Little
attempt to distinguish and no attempt to change the spelling.
On Behalf Of Greg& Val
Sent: Saturday, 21 January 2012 11:44 PM
To: brian fleming; Dave Torr;
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] historical derivation of common name of
I can't remember where I read it but I have, for a long time, understood the
name 'Miner' was applied to the Noisy Miner because of its similarity to the
Common Myna but was spelt differently the Myna.
However, HANZAB states with respect to the Bell Miner " The miners were so
named by early settlers because their tinking calls recalled distant miners
hammering at the workface."
Dr Greg. P. Clancy
Ecologist and Wildlife Guide