Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

White-rumped Shama (Kittacincla malabarica)


French: Shama à croupion blanc German: Weißbürzelschama Spanish: Shama malabar

Muscicapa malabarica


, 1786,

Mahé, Malabar, India


Until recently considered conspecific with K. albiventris. Race stricklandii (together with barbouri) commonly treated as a separate species, but differs by a single major character, intergrades with suavis over a zone almost 300 km wide and genetic divergence is concordant with that shown by taxa usually treated as subspecies at this locus#R; barbouri sometimes also accorded species status, as well as melanura (with races hypoliza, opisthochra and mirabilis) and sometimes even nigricauda#R; comprehensive integrative review of all taxa required. Additional described races based on minor differences and small sample sizes: indica (Nepal E to N Indochina), pellogyna (SE Myanmar, peninsular Thailand) and minor (Hainan) regarded as synonyms of interposita; mallopercna (W Malaysia), eumesa (Natuna Is) and ochroptila (Anamba Is) as synonyms of tricolor; javana (W & C Java) as synonym of omissa; and opisthopela (Batu Is) and opisthisa (Banyak Is) as synonyms of melanura. It seems rather improbable that characters of macroura will prove constant, in which case this name would apply to all populations currently placed in interposita. Fourteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • K. m. malabarica (Scopoli, 1786) – White-rumped Shama – W & S India.
  • K. m. leggei Whistler, 1941 – Sri Lanka.
  • K. m. interposita Robinson & Kloss, 1922 – Nepal, N, CE & NE India, E Bangladesh, Myanmar, S China (S Yunnan, SW Guangxi#R#R), Hainan, Thailand and Indochina.
  • K. m. macroura (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Con Son I, in S Vietnam.
  • K. m. tricolor (Vieillot, 1818) – Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, NW Java, Bangka, Belitung, Natuna Is and Anamba Is.
  • K. m. melanura Salvadori, 1887 – W Sumatran islands (except Enggano and Simeulue).
  • K. m. hypoliza Oberholser, 1912 – Simeulue I, off W Sumatra.
  • K. m. opisthochra Oberholser, 1912 – Lasia I, near Simeulue.
  • K. m. mirabilis (Hoogerwerf, 1962) – Prinsen (Panaitan) I, off SW Java.
  • K. m. omissa E. J. O. Hartert, 1902 – Java (except NW).
  • K. m. nigricauda Vorderman, 1893 – Kangean I.
  • K. m. suavis (P. L. Sclater, 1861) – Borneo (Sarawak and Kalimantan).
  • K. m. stricklandii (Motley & Dillwyn, 1855) – White-crowned Shama – N Borneo, including Banggi I.
  • K. m. barbouri Bangs & J. L. Peters, 1927 – Maratua Is, in E Borneo.
  • Introduced (reportedly race interposita) in Hawaii (on Kauai in 1931 and Oahu in 1940); has since spread naturally to Molokai, Lanai and Maui#R#R.

    Descriptive notes

    21–28 cm (including male tail 7 cm); 22–42 g (tricolor), 31–42 g (suavis). Long graduated tail. Male nominate race has glossy blue-black... read more


    Song one of the finest of any bird within its range, a series of powerful rich fluty melodious... read more


    Undergrowth of logged and unlogged mixed dipterocarp forest, teak forest, mixed bamboo forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly arthropods, including ants, caterpillars, moths, beetles, flies, grasshoppers, centipedes, spiders, also worms and berries. Young... read more


    Season Apr–Jun in India and Sri Lanka; May–Jul in China; Mar–May in Myanmar; Mar–Aug in Peninsular Malaysia; Sept... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Despite overall favourable conservation status, races tricolor (considered Near Threatened in Peninsular Malaysia), ... read more