Animal Species:Noisy Miner

Despite their moderate size, Noisy Miners aggressively attack larger birds such as hawks and kookaburras. These attacks may be so vigorous that most other birds are excluded from an area occupied by Noisy Miners.

Noisy Miner in Tree by Nest

Norman Chaffer © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Noisy Miner

Identification

 The Noisy Miner is a bold and curious bird. It is identified by its mostly grey body and black crown and cheeks. The bill is yellow, as are the legs and the naked skin behind the eye. The name is well suited as the common calls are uttered repeatedly by the members of the colony.

The Common Myna is quite different in plumage (mostly dark brown) and, although it has similar facial markings, belongs to the starling family while the miners belong to the honeyeaters.

Size range

28 cm

Similar Species

Yellow-throated Miner, Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)

Distribution

Noisy Miners range from northern Queensland along the eastern coast to South Australia and Tasmania.

Habitat

Noisy Miners are found in woodlands and open forests. They have also become well adapted to suburban situations and are a common sight in parks and gardens.

Feeding and Diet

The Noisy Miner feeds on nectar, fruits and insects. Very occasionally they will eat small reptiles and amphibians. Food is either taken from trees or on the ground. In keeping with its highly social nature, the Noisy Miner usually feeds in large groups.

Communication

Loud 'pwee pwee pwee' and a piping 'pee pee pee'when alarmed.

Life cycle

Mating and reproduction

Noisy Miners breed in colonies and several broods may be reared in one season. The female constructs the nest and incubates the eggs alone, but both sexes will care for and feed the young birds. Additional 'helpers' also feed the young. Interestingly, these helpers are almost always male birds.

Breeding season: July to December

Economic/social impacts

Noisy Miners, Manorina melanocephala, can be annoying because of their constant vocalizations, but their main problem is the impact they have on other birds. Both problems arise from a dramatic increase in their abundance resulting from the creation of favourable habitat by humans.

Classification

Species:
melanocephala
Genus:
Manorina
Family:
Meliphagidae
Order:
Passeriformes
Class:
Aves
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  • Higgins, P.J., Peter, J.M. and Steele, W.K. (eds) 2001. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 5 (Tyrant-flycatchers to Chats). Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
  • Longmore, N.W. 1991. The Honeyeaters and their Allies of Australia. Angus and Robertson and The National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.


Ondine Evans , Web Researcher/Editor
Last Updated:

Tags noisy, miner, Bird, Birds, flying, wings, tree, nest,

11 comments

Reason - 10.04 AM, 18 April 2012
Hi, Just signed up here to see if anyone can suggest a way around my miner problem. Not my favourite bird due to the well known harassing anything in the garden thing (once saw about 6 of them attacking a sea eagle! ... which sadly didn't do what I was urging it to and eventually gave up and left, no doubt for some peace and quiet) But back to the problem - over the last six months or so they have started to view their reflections in our windows as a territorial threat. Started with one bird doing a wood pecker routine on ground level windows onto the deck, now there is an army of them that repeatedly and very athletically smashing themselves into any window, and it seems to be getting worse (I thought they might lose interest after the breeding season). Anyone have any success in trapping and relocating them? I have done that with one that flew into the house but my home made spring nets have only proved they are smarter than they look! Any help gratefully accepted.
NoisyMinor - 10.02 AM, 11 February 2012
I'm not sure who plagiarized, but http://birdsinbackyards.net/species/Manorina-melanocephala has the exact same info! :/
Jaynia Sladek - 11.07 AM, 06 July 2010

Thanks for the update Ken, it's good to hear that the wattlebirds and smaller species are holding out against the miners!  Your garden sounds like it's alive with birds - you must have a good variety of plant species in and around your place. Cheers, Jaynia

kfraser - 4.07 PM, 05 July 2010
Hi Jaynia. Here is a report back on the Noisy Miner situation around our house. The Little Wattle Birds stayed in our area for about a month while they raised a chick, keeping tight control of the grevilleas. The Noisy Miners have subsequently returned, contesting the space with the wattle birds, but not in the strong numbers that we have had in the past. The Eastern Spinebills are once again very frequent visitors to the grevilleas. I was just looking out the window and saw, simultaneously in the large Ned Kelly grevillea: 2 eastern Spinebills, 1 yellow-faced honeyeater, 2 silver-eyes and 2 thornbills (can't work out whether they are brown or striated - they don't stand still for long!). It's a happy little garden at the moment, despite the fact that we had a sheet of ice on the bird bath two mornings last week!
Jaynia Sladek - 3.05 PM, 03 May 2010

Hi Gina, that's a great tip re: the treacle! The Noisy Miners really are such cheeky and aggressive little terrors, but I've also seen Rainbow Lorikeets give them a good telling off. Cheers, Jaynia.

 

Gina E. - 12.05 PM, 03 May 2010
This is an interesting forum! Our resident Noisy Miners have argued with Kookaburras and scared them away, but when confronting galahs, corellas or rainbow lorikeets, the Miners seem to be more cautious. They terrify our cat by dive-bombing him. We had a Miner attacking his reflection in a window last week, and I eventually discouraged him by pouring treacle on the window ledge (paper over the window, water pistol, etc. had no effect). Once he got his feet out of the treacle he took off and hasn't been back!
Jaynia Sladek - 4.04 PM, 20 April 2010

Hi Ken. It's not immediately apparent why the Noisy Miners may have left the area. They're generally quite sedentary and, as you have observed, aggressively defend their territory from other species. It could have something to do with Noisy Miners' highly organised social structure. The 'family' of miners that frequents your grevilleas is possibly a smaller subset (called either a coterie or a coalition, depending on the size and composition of the subgroup) of the main colony in your area. This subset may be currently frequenting different parts of their their territory, so that they appear to have gone. This is more likely at this time of year, when they are not yet breeding and are reasonably mobile within the territory. Alternatively, it may be that the resources in that area are no longer suitable for the miners, leaving the area free for other species to move in. Whatever the case, it's always interesting to hear about what's happening out there. Keep us posted - it would be interesting to hear about what happens to the other species when the miners come back! Best regards, Jaynia.

kfraser - 9.04 AM, 17 April 2010
We have a large family of noisy miners that "control" the space around our house and the blooming grevilleas. They chase away the other honeyeaters (although the Eastern Spinebills always come around when they are not looking). For the last couple of weeks the noisy miners have been missing. This has occurred a couple of times before, and they have come back again. Where might they have gone and why? PS Control of the grevilleas has passed to a couple of wattle birds! We hope the Indian Mynahs (just up the road) don't move in.
Ondine Evans - 9.01 AM, 03 January 2010

Hi Tatiana - I am not sure if you mean that the bird was still in the house? But if it were, leaving the window open and perhaps gently trying to encourage it towards the window might help - but if it were very scared I would just leave it alone until it calmed down. WIRES and other wildlife rescue organisations are in the phone book and can come to remove native animals for you.

Tatiana da Silva - 1.12 PM, 28 December 2009
My friend left the bedroom window open and a Noisy Miner came in the room ... he tried to drop it off more failed .... slept in the house today and he let go, some Noisy Miner fed it the more it not for screaming calling parents from anyone come near him, what can I do? I expect a reply thanks

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