Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oriental Magpie Robin on Macau stamp

The species as depicted on Macau stamp is Copsychus saularis or known as Oriental Magpie Robin. It is a small passerine bird that was classed as a member of the family Old World flycatcher.They are particularly well known for their songs and were once popular as cagebirds.

This species is 19cm long, including the long tail that is usually held cocked upright. The male has black upperparts, head and throat apart from a white shoulder patch. The underparts and the sides of the long tail are white. Females are greyish black above and greyish white.

Distribution, habitat and feeding:

This magpie-robin is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from Bangladesh, interior India, Sri Lanka and eastern Pakistan east to Indonesia, Thailand, south China and the Philippines.

Their habitat in open woodland, cultivated areas often close to human habitations. It is mostly seen close to the ground, hopping along branches or foraging in leaf-litter on the ground with cocked tail.

Males sing loudly from the top of trees or other perch during the breeding season.
Magpie Robins have a delightful varied song and are said to be able to imitate the calls of other birds. They are sprightly and lively, often cocking their long tails. They are easy to spot as they are not shy and sing from exposed perches. Sometimes, they may abruptly sing in at night!

The food of Magpie Robins is mainly insects and other invertebrates. They are known to occasionally take geckos, leeches, centipedes and even fish.


This species is considered as one of "little concern" globally but in some areas the species is on the decline. Magpie Robins were widely kept as cagebirds for their singing abilities. They continue to be in the pet trade in parts of Southeast Asia.

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