Conservation status: LEAST CONCERN
Common name: white-rumped shama
Scientific name: copsychus malabaricus
Length: 23 – 28 cm
Weight: 28 g ~ 34 g
The white-rumped shama is a slender, predominantly black bird that has become one of the most popular caged birds in Singapore because of its beautiful song. It is featured on the S$50 Bird Series currency notes released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore between 1976 and 1984, and on the Cashcards launched by the Singapore Mint in 2001 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the actual notes. It has been depicted twice on the 50-cent postage stamps of Singapore in 1962 and 1978.
The song of the white-rumped Shama is very rich, liquid, varied and melodious. It is also a good mimic of other birds and sounds. It is the male that sings very well. This rare songster is almost extinct on mainland Singapore; the population has been much reduced by the bird trade. It is more numerous on the offshore islands, such as Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and Sentosa. It lives in forests and thickly wooded areas, seldom venturing into the open, although it is not shy of human habitations.
A forest bird, it takes its bath in pools and streams in the forest. This is one method of feather maintenance, and as feathers undergo wear and tear, they need to be replaced through moulting.
- Salim Ali. (1968). The book of Indian birds. Bombay: Bombay Natural History Society, p. 59. (Call no.: R 598.2954 ALI); Yong, D. L., & Lim, K. C. (2016). A naturalist’s guide to the birds of Singapore. England: John Beaufoy Publishing, p. 139. (Call no.: RSING 598.095957 YON); Smythies, B. E. (1999). The birds of Borneo. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah; Kuala Lumpur: Sabah Society; Malayan Nature Society, p. 479. (Call no.: RSEA 598.095983 SMY); Hails, C. J. (1987). Birds of Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 129. (Call no.: RSING 598.295957 HAI)
- Yong, D. L., & Lim, K. C. (2016). A naturalist’s guide to the birds of Singapore. England: John Beaufoy Publishing, p. 139. (Call no.: RSING 598.095957 YON); Hails, C. J. (1987). Birds of Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 129. (Call no.: RSING 598.295957 HAI)
- Monetary Authority of Singapore. (2017). 2nd series – The bird series currency notes (1976–1984). Currency. Retrieved 2017, March 8 from Monetary Authority of Singapore website: http://www.mas.gov.sg/currency/circulation-currency/notes.aspx#pagecontent_0_currency_repeater_carousel_3_0_2_details_repeater_2_dialog_5; Bird-series Cashcards, new coin set launched. (2001, July 20). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
- New set of stamps to go on sale. (1978, May 29). The Straits Times, p. 12; Birds and orchids on new Singapore stamps. (1963, February 1). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Wee, Y. C., Tan, W. K., & Wang, L. K. (2011). One for the birds: Singapore stamps & money. Singapore: Tan Wee Kiat, p. 34. (Call no.: RSING 769.5695957 WEE)http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg (National Library Board Singapore), Image from http://www.worldbanknotescoins.com