Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Copsychus malabaricus (Scopoli, 1788)

Species:C. malabaricus
Common Names:White-rumped Shama
Status:Rare resident


Belonging to the subfamily Muscicapinae and related to the Oriental Magpie Robin and flycatchers, the White-rumped Shama is one of the best songsters in Singapore.

Size 21–28 cm

Read more about the Passeriformes order.
Read more about the Muscicapidae family.


Bukit Batok Nature Park, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Pulau Ubin, Pulau Tekong, Sentosa, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Locality Map

General Biology

The song of the White-rumped Shama is very rich, liquid, varied and melodious. It is also a good mimic of other birds and sounds. It is the male that sings very well. This rare songster is almost extinct on mainland Singapore; the population has been much reduced by the bird trade. It is more numerous on the offshore islands, such as Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and Sentosa. It lives in forests and thickly wooded areas, seldom venturing into the open, although it is not shy of human habitations.

A forest bird, it takes its bath in pools and streams in the forest. This is one method of feather maintenance, and as feathers undergo wear and tear, they need to be replaced through moulting.


Invertebrate diet includes cockroaches, grasshoppers, caterpillars, centipedes and earthworms.

Life Cycle

A successful nesting was observed in 2006 with the nest inside the cavity of a rotting palm stem. There were 4 chicks in the nest, fledgling 12 days after encounter. According to Wells (2007), a brood left the nest 27 days from the laying of the final egg."

Human Uses

It is a popular cage-bird and constantly trapped by poachers.


Wang, L. K. 2011. White-rumped shama. Pp. 506. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors). Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore. 552 pp.

Wang, L.K. & Hails, C.J. 2007. An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179, Singapore.

Wells, D.R. 2007. The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.

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