Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 160, Issue 1, pp 185–193 | Cite as

Singing behaviour of the oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis)

  • Amar SinghEmail author
  • Dinesh Bhatt
  • Vinaya Kumar Sethi
Original Article


The oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis) (OMR) is a well-known tropical songbird in which males deliver two categories of songs, namely discrete song and continuous song. Discrete songs are delivered throughout the breeding season during different times of the day, while continuous songs are delivered occasionally during courtship behaviour, intruder male rivalry and female attraction. In this study, singing behaviour, song repertoire size and yearly variations in the presentation of the repertoire of discrete songs of the OMR were studied in a colour ringed population in urban habitat of Haridwar (29°55′N, 78°08′E), Uttarakhand, India. Song bout length varied from few minutes to about an hour. Song type length ranged from 0.8 to 2.8 s with a mean value of 1.67 ± 2.42 s. Length of pause between song types averaged 3.17 ± 0.76 s. Average number and types of elements in a song type were found to be 6.15 ± 2.6 and 4.95 ± 1.36 respectively. The average minimum and maximum frequencies of song types were found to be 2.4 ± 0.6 and 5.8 ± 0.8 kHz, respectively. A large repertoire of 20–82 song types with an average of 42.59 ± 13.05 song types per individual in 09 males of OMR was observed during 2011–2013. When the total number of distinct song types against the total songs observed in an individual was plotted, the cumulative curve showed a continuous progression which did not reach an asymptote. Song repertoires varied across the years largely due to addition and/or deletion of the song types in the successive years, indicating that the OMR could be regarded as an open ended song learner.


Copsychus saularis Song repertoire size Yearly variation Open ended song learner 


Gesangsverhalten bei Dajaldrosseln ( Copsychus saularis )

Die Dajaldrossel ist eine bekannte tropische Singvogelart, bei der der Gesang der Männchen in zwei Kategorien eingeteilt werden kann: dem diskreten Gesang und dem kontinuierlichen Gesang. Diskrete Gesänge werden zu verschiedenen Tageszeiten während der Brutsaison geäußert. Kontinuierliche Gesänge werden nur gelegentlich während der Balz, beim Eindringen männlicher Konkurrenten in die Reviere und zur Anlockung von Weibchen vorgetragen. In dieser Studie wurden das Gesangsverhalten, die Größe des Gesangsrepertoires und die jährlichen Variationen in der Präsentation des Repertoires diskreter Gesänge von Dajaldrosseln in einer farbberingten Stadtpopulation in Haridwar (29°55′N, 78°08′E), Uttarakhand, Indien untersucht. Die Strophenlänge variierte zwischen wenigen Minuten und über einer Stunde. Die Länge der Strophentypen lag zwischen 0,8 und 2,8 s., im Mittel bei 1,67 ± 2,42 s. Die Länge der Unterbrechungen zwischen Strophentypen betrug durchschnittlich 3.17 ± 0.76 s. Die durchschnittliche Anzahl der Strophen sowie die Anzahl verschiedener Elemente lagen bei 6.15 ± 2.6 beziehungsweise 4.95 ± 1.36. Die mittlere Minimalfrequenz der Strophen lag bei 2.4 ± 0.6 kHz, die Maximalfrequenz bei 5.8 ± 0.8 kHz. Von 2011–2013 wurde ein großes Repertoire von 20–82 verschiedenen Strophentypen beobachtet. Bei neun Dajaldrossel Männchen konnten im Durchschnitt 42.59 ± 13.05 Strophentypen pro Individuum ermittelt werden. Die Gesamtzahl der unterschiedlichen Strophentypen aufgetragen gegen die Anzahl an Strophen eines Individuums zeigt eine stetige Entwicklung der Summenkurve, die nicht die Asymptote erreicht. Das Gesangsrepertoire variierte stark zwischen den Jahren aufgrund von Hinzufügen oder das Weglassen von Strophentypen in aufeinander folgenden Jahren. Dies zeigt, dass Dajaldrosseln als ‚open-ended‘Gesangslernende eingestuft werden können.



We thank the Head, Dept. of Zoology and Environmental Science, Gurukula Kangri University, Haridwar for providing infrastructure facilities. Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship provided by the University Grants commission, New Delhi is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are also due to the orchards’ owners for their kind permission and cooperation.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Avian Diversity and Bioacoustics Laboratory, Department of Zoology and Environmental ScienceGurukula Kangri UniversityHaridwarIndia
  2. 2.Faculty of Modern StudiesUttarakhand Sanskrit UniversityHaridwarIndia

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