Oriental Magpie-robin singing

posted in: Videography, Vocalisation | 1

The Oriental Magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis) was once one of the three most common birds in Singapore. However, due to excessive trappings for the cage bird trade, their numbers declined drastically. Another factor was competition from the more aggressive and increasingly abundant mynas (Acridotheres spp.)

A reintroduction programme, initiated in the early 1980s, helped to slowly increase their numbers. About 40 birds were released over a period of two years and by 1996 a survey showed the presence of 114 birds.

Currently Oriental Magpie-robins can be heard over most parts of Singapore. Their clear melodious song and rasping alarm call easily bring attention to their presence.

An audio recording of can also be heard HERE.

Jeremiah Loei
1st August 2017

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

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behavior through photography and videography to a wider audience.

  1. Lee Chiu San

    Poaching is one of the biggest problems facing the reintroduction of the Magpie Robin. This is one of the easiest birds to trap. Males are extremely territorial, and usually cannot resist the temptation to challenge a decoy.
    I was always happy to be visited by wild pairs both at my old house in Serangoon Gardens and my present house in Seletar. In a very short time, only the females would be left.
    This is a popular songbird. A well-settled male retails for about $300 currently. However, I would estimate that the mortality rate from the time of trapping until the bird is stable enough to be displayed for sale could be up to 50%.
    Quite a number are legitimately imported, but to ensure that locally poached birds do not enter the trade, the authorities should carry out more stringent checks to match the number of birds offered for sale to the import documents.

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