Fun Magpie Robin Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 12, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Magpie robin facts talk about the brown coloration of the young birds!

The magpie robin (Copsychus genus), also known as shamas, is a unique medium-sized bird that belongs to the order Passeriformes, family Muscicapidae. Formerly this bird was classified under the family Turdidae and is endemic to Asia and Africa.

Adult male magpie robins have glossy blue-black upper parts, breast, head, and throat. It has black wings with two white wing bars on them from shoulder to the tip of the wing, and its long tail is also black with white underparts.

It has a black bill, black legs, and dark eyes.

The black color breast and head of a male are replaced with a dull dark gray color plumage in a female, and this is the difference that helps to determine their sexes. The oriental magpie robin species are the national bird of Bangladesh.

This bird is mostly seen close to the ground, jumping along branches and foraging in leaf litter on the ground with their fanned tail. A male sings loudly from the top of trees while perching.

The oriental magpie robin is a resident breeder on high perches within its range and is known to be an active scatterer of seed. They are extremely territorial, and both sexes will aggressively defend their territory during the breeding season.

If you liked these true facts about magpie robin, then you'll surely like these facts about magpie duck and Taiwan blue magpie too!

Magpie Robin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a magpie robin?

Oriental magpie robins (Copsychus saularis), like other magpie robins, belong to the order Passeriformes and are energetic, dynamic birds, usually found close to the ground, foraging in leaf litters in the forest and leaping from perches to perches.

What class of animal does a magpie robin belong to?

Oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis) and other shama birds belong to the Aves class like all magpies and robins. While belonging to the family of Muscicapidae, the oriental magpie robin was formerly classified into the family Turdidae.

How many magpie robins are there in the world?

Unfortunately, there is no accurate count on the population of magpie robins. This genus of birds contains 13 different species and is found all across the Indian subcontinent, in large numbers as well as in small groups in their habitat range, because of which it is impossible to know the exact populations.

Where does a magpie robin live?

The oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis) ranges in a variety of open habitats. Magpie robins are distributed in almost any open habitat, from the open savanna, desert, parks, beaches, alpine tundra, and lawns.

These birds are resident breeders of Southern China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Srilanka, India, the Philippines, Singapore, the Indian subcontinent, and other parts of Southeast Asia.

The Andaman shama is, which was earlier classified as a subspecies of the white-rumped shama, is endemic to the Andaman Islands.

What is a magpie robin's habitat?

The oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis) is easily found and is common in the garden and park near the urban habitat. They prefer cultivated areas and open woodland forests as their suitable habitat, and they are frequent inhabitants of areas where human life is found.

These shama birds can be found up to 6561.6 ft (2000 m) high in bushes and in low-level coastal mangroves.

Who does magpie robin live with?

Shama birds are solitary in nature; each pair of birds defends its own small territory during the breeding season from March to August as these species are rather shy and silent.

How long does a magpie robin live?

The average lifespan of an oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis) is estimated to be around 10-15 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of magpie robin or the shama is between March and August, and the courtship display during which the male is seen singing its hearty songs is often seen at dusk and dawn.

While singing, the male moves its tail up and down, synchronizing with its melodious song. During this courtship display, the male perches on the top of the trees trying to attract a female partner to mate with, and during this period, it becomes aggressively territorial, defending its territories from intruders.

If it detects any intruder nearby its nest, it utters tuneless calls distracting the intruders and displaying its puffed plumage showing the sign of aggression.

This bird builds its nest in a cavity, in a building, a hole in trees, a place near the human habitat, in a wall, a ledge under a roof. It builds its nest by using forks of branches, grass fibers, thick shrubs, dried leave, roots, moss, twigs, and even an old tin can.

Once a male finds his suitable mate, they form a pair, and after copulation, females lay three to five greenish-blue eggs and their incubation period lasts for 12-13 days, with both parents taking turns during this period.

Both parents raise the young chicks, which remain in the same territory until the next breeding cycle, and males will protect the chick while females will feed them.

What is their conservation status?

Oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis) is considered Least Concern on the IUCN Red List due to the vast population and distribution of these birds. Their population is declining due to the loss of a suitable habitat range and pet trade as they are one of the best cage and aviary birds on the Indian subcontinents.

These birds are protected in Bangladesh as they are the national bird of Bangladesh.

The black shama is one of the species that are in grave danger of extinction as they are listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List as they have lost a large chunk of their population as victims of the pet trade and habitat loss.

Magpie Robin Fun Facts

What do magpie robins look like?

Magpie robins come in different shapes and sizes as many species belong to the magpie robin family, oriental magpie being the most common and most abundant in nature. The oriental magpie robin is a medium-sized bird.

Males have shiny blue-black upperparts, throat, head, and upper breast with a black long tail and white outer feathers.

Its wings are black in color with two long and bold white wing bars from shoulder to the tip of the wing, and the underparts of the wings are white.

This bird has dark eyes, and its legs and feet are also black in color. The only difference in males and females of these shama species is that females usually have a dull grayish color instead of the white plumage.

Juvenile chicks usually resemble the adult blueish black and white female, but instead of white plumage, they have a mangy-looking head and upperparts with a blotchy brown breast and brown throat.

How cute are they?

Magpie robin is a cute bird species thanks to its medium size and blueish black and white plumage, and melodious song coming from the trees when you are in a garden or park! Babies are especially cute right after they break out of their eggs!

How do they communicate?

Shama or magpie robin generally uses both vocal and posturing for communicating with each other. These birds will use songs and different vocal calls and will produce clear and beautiful whistles in repeated short phrases.

How big is a magpie robin?

The oriental magpie robin is a medium-sized bird as it can grow up to 7.4-9 in (19-23 cm) in length. In comparison, the European robin is slightly smaller than them!

How fast can a magpie robin fly?

A magpie robin has been observed to fly at the speed of 30-36 mph (48.2-57.9 kph).

How much does a magpie robin weigh?

A fully grown adult male weighs between 1.1-1.5 oz(31-42 g), with males being slightly larger and heavier than females.

What are the male and female names of the species?

No particular name has been assigned to either the male or the female of this bird species.

What would you call a baby magpie robin?

A baby magpie robin, like most other baby birds, is called a chick.

What do they eat?

Magpie robins are omnivorous and forage on the ground of cultivated areas and open land forest, jumping with their raised tail.

The diet of magpie robin consists mainly of flower nectar and insects caught from the forest floor. It also consumes small lizards, snails, and earthworms.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous at all. These birds are usually docile, but they tend to become aggressive during the breeding season and defend their territory against any intruders by displaying their buffed plumage and various calls.

Would they make a good pet?

Magpie robins will make excellent pets as they are beautiful, attractive, and an active bird species that always sing a melodious song. These bird species are social in nature and can live with other species peacefully, and their feeding habit makes it easier to take care for.

Some are popular cage and aviary birds prized for their rich song.

In Borneo, the local aviculturists breed the white-crowned shama as a caged bird appraised for its singing ability. It continues to be confined because of the belief that the wild-caught birds are better songsters and stronger than the birds bred in captivity and can be a great part of the pet trade.

Did you know...

The oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis) is usually mistaken for the closely related species, the white-rumped shama (Copsychus malabaricus), because of their similar head color and build. Sometimes they are also confused with the pied fantail (Rhipidura javanica) due to the similar multicolor plumage of both species.

In the entire animal kingdom, these birds possess the ability to mimic other birds and their song.

Songs of the oriental magpie robin include sharp chirping phrases scattered withheld, up and down inflected steeping whistles.

The oriental magpie robin is the national bird of Bangladesh, and as their national bird, they occur in the national currency of Bangladesh.

The melodious song of the magpie robin bird is strong and varies with different mimicries and notes. These birds may sometimes suddenly start singing during the night.

What is the meaning of magpie robin?

The oriental magpie robin is known by the scientific name Copsychus saularis. The genus name Copsychus is derived from the Greek word 'kopsikhos', which means 'blackbird' as it describes the color of these birds.

How to tell female and male magpie robins apart?

It is very easy to determine the sex of magpie robins by just looking at their nape. Males usually have a pure white nape, and the females will have assorted grayish shades and markings on their nape.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these sworn-billed hummingbird or ivory-billed aracari

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Magpie robin coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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