Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Madagascar Magpie-robin (Copsychus albospecularis)


French: Shama de Madagascar German: Madagaskarschama Spanish: Shama malgache común

Turdus albo-specularis

Eydoux and Gervais

, 1836,

Maroantsetra, north-eastern Madagascar


Hitherto treated as conspecific with C. pica. Birds from around Ihosy described as race winterbottomi, male with all-black tail, female with extensive white spots on outer three rectrices and white outer webs of two longest secondaries; included within inexspectatus in HBW, but later considered either a race of C. pica or more probably a hybrid between C. pica and race inexspectatus#R. Race inexspectatus (misspelt in HBW) may itself be a white-bellied morph of nominate#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. albospecularis (Eydoux & Gervais, 1836) – NE Madagascar (S from Antongil Bay).
  • C. a. inexspectatus Richmond, 1897 – EC to SE Madagascar.
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; 17·8–30·5 g (nominate), 19–30·5 g (inexspectatus). Male nominate race is black, with white shoulder patch and white fringes... read more


    Song a series of clear, high-pitched warbled and trilled notes, fairly quiet and often given in... read more


    Heavy rainforest interior (nominate race), and closed-canopy humid forest, littoral forest, forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects (including cockroaches, orthopterans, bugs, adult and larval beetles, and ants), spiders, small amphibians and geckos, isopods,... read more


    Birds in breeding condition late Sept to late Dec; nests in Oct–Jun. Estimated territory size of race inexspectatus 1–... read more


    Apparently sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Scattered but relatively common. Densities vary with habitat; highest in heavy forest. Known from many protected areas.

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Madagascar Magpie-robin (Copsychus albospecularis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 3 April 2020).