Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis)

The Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis) is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush familyTurdidae, but now considered an Old World flycatcher. They are distinctive black and white birds with a long tail that is held upright as they forage on the ground or perch conspicuously. Distributed in most of the Indian Subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia, they are common birds in urban gardens as well as forests. They are particularly well known for their songs and were once popular as Cagebirds.


This species is 19 centimetres (7.5 in) long, including the long tail that is usually held cocked upright. It is similar in shape to the smaller European Robin, but is longer-tailed. 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. Young birds have scaly brown upperparts and head. It is the national bird of Bangladesh.


The nominate race is found on the Indian Subcontinent and the females of this race are the palest. The females of the Andamans race andamanensis are darker, heavier-billed and shorter-tailed. The Sri Lankan race ceylonensis (formerly included the Peninsular Indian populations south of the Kaveri River) and southern nominate individuals have the females nearly identical to the males in shade. The eastern populations (Bhutan and Bangladesh) have more black on the tail and were formerly named erimelas. The populations in Burma and further south are named as race musicus. A number of other races have been named across the range including prosthopellus (Hong Kong), nesioteszacnecusnesiarchusmasculus,pagiensisjavensisproblematicusamoenusadamsiplutodeuteronymus and mindanensis. However many of these are not well marked and the status of some are disputed. There is more geographic variation in the plumage of females than in that of the males.


The Magpie Robin is the National Bird of Bangladesh, where it is common and known as the Doyel or Doel (Bengaliদোয়েল). It is a widely used symbol in Bangladesh, appearing on currency notes, and a landmark in the city of Dhaka is named as the Doyel Chatwar (meaning: Doyel Square).
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