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Male white-rumped shama (Copsychus malabaricus)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Copsychus
Wagler, 1827
Type species
Gracula saularis[1]
Linnaeus, 1758

see text

The magpie-robins or shamas (from shama, Bengali and Hindi for C. malabaricus)[2] are medium-sized insectivorous birds (some also eat berries and other fruit) in the genus Copsychus. They were formerly in the thrush family Turdidae, but are now treated as part of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae. They are garden- and forest-dwelling species found in Africa and Asia.

The genus Copsychus was introduced by the German naturalist Johann Georg Wagler in 1827.[3] The type species was subsequently designated as the Oriental magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis) by the English zoologist George Robert Gray in 1840.[4][5] The name Copsychus is from the Ancient Greek kopsukhos or kopsikhos, meaning "blackbird".[6]

The genus contains 13 species:[7]

Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
Copsychus fulicatus Indian robin Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Copsychus saularis Oriental magpie-robin Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, eastern Pakistan, eastern Indonesia, Thailand, southern China, Malaysia and Singapore
Copsychus pyrropygus Rufous-tailed shama southern Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo
Copsychus albospecularis Madagascar magpie-robin Madagascar
Copsychus sechellarum Seychelles magpie-robin the Seychelles
Copsychus mindanensis Philippine magpie-robin the Philippines
Copsychus malabaricus White-rumped shama Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Java, Borneo
Copsychus albiventris Andaman shama the Andaman Islands
Copsychus stricklandii White-crowned shama Borneo
Copsychus luzoniensis White-browed shama the Philippines
Copsychus superciliaris Visayan shama Visayan Islands in the Philippines
Copsychus niger White-vented shama Palawan, Balabac and Calamian in the Philippines
Copsychus cebuensis Black shama Cebu in the Philippines

The Seychelles magpie-robin is one of the most endangered birds in the world, with a population of less than 250, although this is a notable increase from just 16 in 1970.


  1. ^ "Muscicapidae". The Trust for Avian Systematics. Retrieved 2023-07-15.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A. (1991). A Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. Oxford University Press. p. 216. ISBN 0-19-854634-3.
  3. ^ Wagler, Johann Georg (1827). Systema avium (in Latin). Stuttgart: J.G. Cottae. p. 306 (Gracula).
  4. ^ Gray, George Robert (1840). A List of the Genera of Birds : with an Indication of the Typical Species of Each Genus. London: R. and J.E. Taylor. p. 21.
  5. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, eds. (1964). Check-list of Birds of the World. Vol. 10. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. pp. 64–65.
  6. ^ Jobling, J.A. (2018). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  7. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2021). "Chats, Old World flycatchers". IOC World Bird List Version 13.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 22 September 2023.