Oriental Magpie Robin – songs

posted in: Videography, Vocalisation | 1
Adult Oriental Magpie-robin in classical posture.

“Oriental Magpie Robins (Copsychus saularis musicus) are favourite birds and we have a number of pairs that live in our garden. They have one of the largest repertoires of personal calls and songs of any bird I know locally, and are known to mimic other birds as well. One of my ‘bucket-list’ hopes is to understand the meanings of their calls better.

“This post is about the less often songs that these birds make. I use the word ‘calls’ here to indicate the vocalisation that is made in direct communication between birds – territorial, threat, distress calls, etc. These are short, direct and usually brief (may be repeated). I use ‘song’ here as their continual vocalisation that goes on for long periods, often 5-20 minutes. This is heard more often during courtship and breeding periods. We often hear them in the early hours of the morning while still dark, ‘singing their hearts out’.

“For this recording I observed a male in courtship behaviour with a female and another male in attendance at 9am in the morning. The male then proceeded to perch on a branch and sing for a long period of time. This allowed for a number of recordings, using the car as a hide. Even when I left after 10 minutes the bird was still singing. There was an occasional response. These songs are warbling-like to my ear.

“There is no apparent rhythm or structure to these songs. Notes may be single or grouped and are sung intermittently. There two type of notes I can hear. One that occurs often in groups of 7-8 (Sonogram and Waveform above) and another that consists of couplets of 3 (occasionally 4) notes (Sonogram and Waveform below).

“A video recording (audio extracted, amplified with sound reduction) is given below.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
30th January 2019

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Urban environment

  1. Howard Banwell

    I love the myriad songs and calls of the Oriental Magpie Robin. We too have a couple of pairs living in or around our garden, and I see and hear them every day. What pleasure they bring to life! I can hear one right now as I write this a little after sunrise.

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