Atretic follicles of the ovary of the Indian pied myna (Sturnus contra contra) were studied in birds collected each month throughout the year. Histological examination included histochemical techniques for 3β‐hydroxy‐steroid dehydrogenase (3β‐HSDH) and for lipids. Atretic follicles were mainly of two types: nonbursting (lipoidal and cystic) and bursting (Types I–VI). Nonbursting atresia was observed in the smaller follicles (< 500 μm in diameter), whereas larger follicles (> 500 μm in diameter, viz., small developing, large developing, and yolky follicles) showed exclusively a bursting type of atresia. Sudanophilic lipid was found in both types (lipoidal and cystic) of nonbursting atresia, but was present only in early stages of bursting atresia. Activity of 3β‐HSDH was absent in nonbursting atresia, but present in early stage of bursting atresia. Nonbursting atresia was common throughout the year and higher in frequency than the bursting type. Bursting atresia was common during March through May and attained its peak level during the nesting cycle. Copyright © 1986 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.