Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Pelzeln’s Magpie-robin (Copsychus pica)


French: Shama de Pelzeln German: Pelzelnschama Spanish: Shama malgache ventriblanco

Copsychus (Turdus) pica


, 1858,

Bontebok Bay, north-western Madagascar


Hitherto treated as conspecific with C. albospecularis, although possible separation recently outlined#R, based on its longer bill, wing and especially tail (mean male tail 77.3 vs 66.4 for C. a. albospecularis or 65.4 for C. a. inexspectatus; at least 2); white outer rectrices (3); white-edged tertials creating white line on closed wing (2); more white on inner wing-coverts (1); behavioural repertoire differences (tail-fanning common vs rare, aggressive nape-feather raising unrecorded vs standard) (1); use of more open habitats (ns[1]); probable parapatric distribution (recorded to within 8 km#R) (ns[3]). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

N, W & SW Madagascar (from Vohemar S to Ampotaka and W Anosyenne Mts)#R.

Descriptive notes

18 cm; 18–28 g. Adult male has lower breast, belly and undertail-coverts white, flanks grey or cinnamon-buff, outermost rectrix entirely white, r5 white with basal... read more


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


Thick dry coastal scrub, dry monsoon forest, intact and degraded spiny forest, rainforest and... read more

Food and feeding

Diet poorly known, although presumably similar to that of C. albospecularis. The stomach contents of two specimens both comprised... read more


No definite differences known from formerly conspecific C. albospecularis. Birds in breeding condition late Sept to late Dec;... read more


Apparently sedentary, but a female was recorded outside known range, in a garden in Antananarivo,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Relatively common. Densities vary with habitat, but the species evidently benefits from some clearance within forest. Recorded in... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Pelzeln’s Magpie-robin (Copsychus pica). 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 29 January 2020).