Black shama -- 黑鹊鸲 (Copsychus cebuensis)

Male black shama
Loading more images and videos...

Black shama fact file

Black shama description

GenusCopsychus (1)

The black shama is a medium-sized bird with entirely black plumage. The male has a dark bluish sheen to its plumage, whilst the female is a little more blackish grey, and smaller than the male. The tail is long and graduated, the bill is black and the eyes are dark brown. Juveniles are greyer with browner wings (2). The black shama’s song is a rich, varied series of melodious whistles, and it is also known to mimic the sounds of other birds (2) (3).

Length: 20 cm (2)

Black shama biology

The black shama is an unobtrusive bird, often heard before it is seen, probably due to its inconspicuous appearance and its preference for skulking in the dense understorey of forest. The breeding season extends from February to September, when two to three eggs are laid in cup-shaped nests, often found placed in the sawed or broken ends of bamboo stalks (2). The only information known about this secretive bird’s diet comes from the contents of a female’s stomach, which contained small, black beetles (4).


Black shama range


Black shama habitat

Inhabits forest and dense thickets, bamboo groves, scrub, deforested land and plantations (2) (4).


Black shama status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Black shama threats

The island of Cebu was once almost completely covered in forest, but today contains less than 0.3 percent of its original forest cover. Logging and shifting cultivation continues to convert the remaining natural habitat (5), leaving little suitable habitat for the black shama.


Black shama conservation

During the 1980s the black shama was the focus of a population survey and a local awareness campaign. It also occurs within the Central Cebu National Park, however, this site offers little protection. Further surveys and research of this species is required to enable the development of effective management plans, and this obviously needs to be carried out in addition to efforts to conserve the remaining natural habitat on Cebu (4).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For further information on the black shama see:

  • BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:


A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.


  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2008)
  2. Kennedy, R.S., Gonzales, P.C., Dickinson, E.C., Miranda Jr., H.C. and Fisher, T.H. (2000) A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  3. BirdLife International (June, 2007)
  4. BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the Birdlife International Red Data Book. Birdlife International, Cambridge, UK.
  5. Wikramanayake, E., Dinerstein, E. and Loucks, C.J. (2002) Terrestrial Ecoregions of the Indo-Pacific: A Conservation Assessment. Island Press, Washington D.C.

Image credit

Male black shama  
Male black shama

© Jon Hornbuckle

Jon Hornbuckle


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Black shama (Copsychus cebuensis) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top