Tuesday, November 22, 2011

World Bird Wednesday: Shama

Shamas are also called magpie-robins, I think it's easy to see why. This is a female White-Rumped Shama. The male is below:

These birds are native to Southeast Asia and their preferred habitat are bamboo forest, where they forage for insects on the floor. They will occasionally take fruits and berries as well.

They are very territorial, possibly with males and females each defending their own territory outside the breeding season. During courtship, the male displays his tail feathers for the female and sings. Males sing throughout the year, females only during breeding season. Shamas have a very melodious voice (listen here) and are also known to imitate other birds. The first recordings of a bird song (and of animal sounds in general) ever made in 1889 was of a white-rumped shama.

A pair will raise one, sometimes two clutches of 3-5 eggs per year, with the female incubating, but both parents feeding their young. Juveniles look similar to females and they can hunt for their own food when they are about 26 days old.

All my photos were taken at Burgers Zoo in Arnhem, where the walk-through Mangrove enclosure houses a pair of very relaxed shamas.

More birds at World Bird Wednesday

Sources and further reading:
Honolulu Zoo
Natural Sounds - on the history of nature recordings
Internet Bird Collection

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