Tuesday, December 23, 2008

German Shama Website

There is a new website in the German language. The website is listed in the Blog List on the left. To obtain a translation to English, use the automatic web translation service babelfish.yahoo.com that is in the Bloglist. A sample translation from German to English using Babelfish is shown below. No alteration has been made to the translation.

Attitude and breed…

Attitude and breed of the Weißbürzel Schamadrossel (Copsychus malabaricus)

Article and books concerning the attitude and breed of the Schamadrossel very popular with our breeders give it in my opinion sufficiently in our culture area, so that each beginner in addition, progressing can generally inform. To me here it does not concern to state also still my view of the things although I these beautiful birds already since 1986 and partly in the free flight follow, but I would like to look over the own edge of plate and to show the experiences of an experienced breeder, David de Souza, from another culture area (Singapore/Southeast Asia), in order to present also different opinions and ways of thinking and to deepen so the understanding for this interesting bird further.

David de Souza belonged to that relatively few breeders, their large experiences and bird-philosophical opinions in the Internet all interested one free of charge make available and he me with joy permission for a translation into German gave. Beyond that video can regard and/or listen to its website over beautiful Schamas including their singing on each pictures and who the English is powerful, also still many hints and cheat additionally to infer.

This article is an edited version of the extensive summary of the translation of the experiences and opinions of David de Souza from Singapore, published in the VZE monthly magazine 2007, numbers 4, 5, 6, 7.

Herbert Witt

All photos David de Souza


The Weißbürzel Schamadrossel (Copsychus malabaricus) gives it from India to Borneo in different subspecies. The Indian subspecies have short tails and a good singing. South over Burma, Kambodscha, Laos and central Thailand the Schamas continues to be smaller, slimmer and has longer tails than the Indian Varietäten. These kinds are not in Singapore in such a way like, because the singing and the appearance are inclined to the mediocrity.

In Malaysia and Singapore the Schamafans completely generally believes that the most in demand birds come from the area along the Thai-Malaysian border. The island Penang in Malaysia, which is also in this area, was once famous for their beautiful Schamas with good stature and good singing. But nowadays there is hardly still wild Schamas on Penang, since they became away imprisoned already nearly everything for the bird trade. At present one assumes that the most in demand birds of the island Langkawi and the group of the islands finding therefore around come themselves, which belong to Malaysia and Thailand.

The Schamas from the Malaysian low country has short tails from 15 to 18 cm. Those are also the birds, which are held by most bird breeders in Malaysia and Singapore. However the Malaysian forest authority forbade recently the export of Schamas and thus also the import from Malaysia strongly back went.

Also the Indonesian province Ažeh lies in the area, in which desire-worth Schamas with long tails was bred, and there is the assumption that there are there also still such birds in freedom, but the war and the fights in this area from there not possibly make an import of birds. From other parts of Indonesia and particularly from the province Medan Schamas in Singapore are regularly imported. The Indonesian birds seem to be somewhat larger than from Malaysia. Their singing is not louder and pleasantly nevertheless their stature is remarkable straight. It is therefore also not surprising that the Indonesier evaluates the singing of the bird more highly than their stature.

In Indonesia there is a Schamaunterart with completely black tails in place of 8 white and 4 black tail feathers/springs. Occasionally a dealer in Singapore imports an amount of zahmer schwarzschwänziger Schamas to Singapore. These birds have short tails of approximately 10 cm length and for about in each case 200 US$ are acted. There is very good singers with large singing variety. They are quite popular also as cage birds. I already saw schwarzschwänzige Schamas with centrallong tail spring lengths from 25 cm to 28 cm to 3. These birds are probably a subspecies with the 10-cm-long tails. There is not good singers. Particularly a characteristic of the schwarzschwänzigen Schamas was noticeable to me, it is not as aggressive and courageous as the general Schama. Therefore they are unsuitable also for the singing matches in Singapore and Malaysia, since they can be intimidated and in society of other Schamas to sing less.

Also on Borneo there is a subspecies of the Schamas, which differs from the other subspecies by a white mark on the head, otherwise sees it however to a Weißbürzelschama similar. I held the Borneo Schama already some time ago. The tail feathers/springs are short, otherwise there are hardly differences to the others including its voice. With the Schamazüchtern in Singapore it is not very in demand here.


As kind the Schama is one of the best singers under the singing birds, but one must be quite conscious its that, as also with humans, not all the same singing ability to possess. Some birds have only a limited repertoire and if they then always ride on the same clay/tone sequence, its presence can be really intolerable. Others again exhibited quite large variety at tones, them are however sometimes incapable to add these of a pleasant whole one together.

The best singer is that, it understands its tones and calls into a pleasant melody with appropriate changes in rhythm and style together to seize. If one absolutely looks for now the very best singer under the Schamas, then one should be its consciously that such a bird is just as rare, like an opera singer von Weltklasse, and therefore also often extremely expensively.

For an uncritical ear a Schamagesang stop is only one bird singing, but similarly as with good wine, one only the singing of a really good Schama heard and enjoyed, then one cannot listen to a moderate Schama no more with joy.

Depending upon mood of the bird there are three kinds of Schamagesang: First of all the so-called twittering singing, a pleasant, soft, melodischer singing, which a Schama gives often in the afternoon to the own tendency receipt of itself, if it eases and sits there calmly. Then there is not to the loud, but provocative singing of the Schama, which this sings occasionally. And in the long run is there still the penetrating singing, which an old Schamahahn gives with the defense of its territory or in the excitation condition of itself.

I believe that the singing ability of a Schama is innate. So that the bird can develop however its singing potential also fully, it needs a good Vorsänger, this is particularly valid for its development development of the youth time. I had also already some cocks of other breeders, who already came in a very recent age into my house. Although they could hear the many birds in my garden, some from them no good singer became. On the other hand I had a young bird named „Pavarotti “, a descendant of my Godfather (godfather) and my Sweet lady (attractive lady), who could after-whistle a clock of a melody already nearly immediately after first hearing.

The Schama possesses a large imitation talent for singing of other birds and belonged to sound and also the gift to make itself this zueigen. Once I possessed a Schama, whose cage hung on the WC. It took up then naturally also the sound of the falling water also to its own repertoire. Often you imitate also a ringing of the telephone so convincingly that one rises and removes the listener. Occasionally they in addition, unpleasant tones, as for example one my very good singer, learn who had taken up for months the Miauen of a cat to its singing.

The youngest Schama, I saw which already singing, was 14 days old. It sat with its twittering singing completely calmly on a branch. Normally the Schama sings its baby singing of far until their first Mauser or even still some to time beyond that. At the beginning the baby singing resembles the singing of the hen, i.e. there is only some call tones. But sign for the singing potential of the Schamas gives it all right early in its life.

One continuously and Jungschama singing with variety very probably develops to a good singer in its riper life. On the other hand it is rather improbable that a young bird, which is calm usually or sings only little becomes a good singer.

One so far of few noticed fact is those that even after a adulter bird the Mauser its singing voice must only again „trimming “. While the Mauser sings the Schama much less or can even with singing stop completely. Toward end of the Mauser the cock begins again with the singing. At the beginning the singing is still short and it sounds as with a young bird. But soon the voice strengthens itself and about or one and a half months after the Mauser should the bird his loud voice and full breeding condition again have attained.


Many humans believe that there are no seasons in the Tropics. That is however not like that. There is here rain time, which are essentially caused by the northeast monsoon, and one drying time between the monsoon times. In the wilderness the life of the Schama is adjusted by these climatic changes. During the northeast monsoon it can really pour for days and it is thus for the birds very difficult to find insects and other fodder.

Therefore the birds adjust themselves in such a way that brood and Mauser fall between the monsoon times, if those ensures food variety in this time the fulfillment of their high food requirements.

The breeding activities of the tropical birds including the Schamas begin with the leaving of the strong rainfalls of the northeast monsoon in January and continue into August. After the breeding business the birds enter their Jahresmauser and terminate these before the beginning of the next monsoon time.

In the captivity and in a considered Voliere the Brutsaison of the Schamas is not affected so much by the seasonal weather fluctuations. As soon as they are in good Brutstimmung and are present different living person fodder, the brood can take place. But I find that continuously strong rain has a depressive effect on the breeding demand of the birds also and do not leave my birds from there in this time in principle to breed.


Only living person fodder should be offered to the breeding birds in the form of insects, young frogs and small living fish. The frogs and fish supply the calcium necessary for the Eischalen and bones of the Küken. Since we are not able to offer to the birds the variety at living person fodder which can take up it in the wilderness, its fodder should be supplemented by a vitamin and a mixture of mineral materials over ensured that they also receive all for the healthy attitude and reaching the breeding condition necessary food auxiliary material.


It is to be mentioned redundantly that it is favourable to take for the brood a if possible large Voliere. But regardless of its it does not have to be necessarily very large for a successful brood. A size of 1,20 m x 0.9 m with a height of 2 m is quite sufficient. It should be however shady and lie far away from the traffic.

The Voliere should have many seat possibilities also in low height straight for the boys, if these leave the first time the incubator. Immediately after leaving the nest they can fly, but their flight is still quite uncertain. Without the presence of many seat and climbing possibilities they approach inevitably and possibly injure themselves. The many seat possibilities are needed actually only for the first flight days. Already briefly after it the boys can steer their flight and full-lead even a U-curve in air.

Kokosfasern and similar natural fibers must be put to the pair for the building of nests at the disposal. These can be given to the Voliere strewn on the ground and should not to the incubator, since the procedure of the nest building stimulates the hen also to the brood. For my birds I had to never build an artificial nest. The first sign of the breeding willingness of the hen shows up in the fact that some stems of the NIST material are in the bath water. As soon as one determines and the female yet with a cock is not together closed, she should be paired with a breedingwilling cock.


The Schama is a cave breeder and builds its nest from dry blades of grass and sheets in tree caves or bamboo bundles. With the Volierenbrut is an incubator to be planned. I use a Doppelkasten, as explained in the photo. A such box has the advantage that the nest containing internal box for control of the clutch of eggs and/or the boys can be taken out.

The dimensions of the internal box should not fall below 13 cm x 13 cm x 10 cm (height). The outside box is somewhat larger, in order to take up the internal box. It can be high depending upon length of the tail feathers/springs of the cock quite 23 cm to 30 cm over ensure that these are not damaged, if the cock visits occasionally the box.

The incubator should be attached about 1.30 m to 2 m over the ground in a remote part of the Voliere. Once I placed the incubator on a table approximately 60 cm over the ground with the entrance to the living room window, so that one could see the Schamahenne sitting on the nest. It sat also on the eggs and drew its brood up, but it appeared always a little jerky, if it saw that it observed someone.

The boys do not get the nest dirty. As long as they are in the nest, their eliminations in a transparent „bag appear “, which parents in the bill up to a certain distance from the incubator carry away.

Begin the pair

The pair should be used only, if both are in good breeding condition. If that is not the case, then the cock kills the hen. A cock in the breeding condition sings from full throat and raises again and again its white Bürzelfedern thereby somewhat. Also the hen sings. The pair should balzen and sing, if their cages in the Voliere are placed next to each other.

If only the cock sings, the hen on its seat bar remains however calm, then it is not yet ready also for a brood. If against it the hen already goes into mating position, by ducking themselves and spreading the wings, then it is all-highest time. In such a case an immediate mating can be nearly always observed with building the birds up. It needs then also only one day for the building of nests and the first egg can on the subsequent day be put. It is however very probable that the first 2 or 3 eggs are unbefruchtet.

Mostly however, even if the pair already is in Brutstimmung, a mating takes place not immediately, although the cock begins immediately after building up with the wooing of the hen.

It balzt and sings it on and shows it thereby, what nevertheless it is for a magnificent Gentleman. He visits also the NIST box and must apparent check whether it is also a suitable wedding accommodation. It even slips in and remains longer time in it, whereby it calls the hen quietly. It is interested then quite and goes to the entrance. As soon as the cock leaves the incubator, she slips in and controls its suitability.

Birth of the Küken

The Küken is born without feathers/springs and with closed eyes, these opens only on the 6th day. Between 10. and 13. Day they should be fully befiedert and airworthy. The feathers/springs at the head can quite need up to their complete development a few days more.

Normally both parents feed the small ones. In the first days parents use much time for plasticizing the fodder, by striking einpicken and it before feeding to the boys on it on the ground.

In this time it is quite helpful for it, if smaller insects, for example mini crickets, are offered to them, so that parents have less work during the preparation of the fodder for the boys. If the boys leave then the incubator, parents prepare the insects, fish or frogs before feeding to the boys only slightly. Parents are very fearful, if the boys leave the incubator, and by their excited calling one notices immediately that a young bird went on a trip. Before going on a trip the boys from the incubator the bath water and all other deep, water should be removed for containing containers, since it admits to me is that already more than one young bird please and drowned on its first flight day in the water.

Some days after the boys the incubator left, are parents already again for a new brood ready. If the hen the nest is, it is no longer interested in feeding the boys and the cock takes over alone. Approximately to 24. The young birds should take up day after slipping independently fodder. From the Brutvoliere are they then before going on a trip the next young birds to be removed. In the wilderness parents still chase the older Küken away from the nest proximity before going on a trip the next brood. In the compartmentation of the Voliere the father could kill the older boys, if these did not become out imprisoned.


The plumage of the young birds is dark grey brown with yellow marks. At the age between 2 and 6 months the Mauser and their dark grey-brown plumage begins gradually by that of the adult of bird is replaced. With me the young birds at the age from approximately 2 months begin to moult to, but with other breeders they begin partly many later thereby. We believe the cause for this lie in the fact that my birds are usually held in Außenvolieren and with the others in interiors in cages. If however my friends feed their Küken with the same vitamins and additives, as I give her to them, then their young birds are inclined also to an earlier Mauser. From the fact we concluded that healthy young birds are inclined to an earlier Mauser, because their robust health makes this for them possible.

Apparent the young birds learn their singing during the Mauserzeit. Therefore one should ensure that they have one in this time „teachers “, so that they can develop their singing potential also maximally. Their Vorsänger should be placed however at some distance to the young birds, because one remembers here that the Schama in the wilderness is a territorial bird and the boys can hear the old cock probably only from the distance.

Like completion of their first Mauser the young birds look exactly like the old birds. I would compare its biological age in this time however with that thirteen of a years old boy. Because it is often like that some young Schamahähne even still do not show some time after completion of its first Mauser a reaction to the females. The Jungschama is therefore still in impressions a taking up age and should about not by the fact be stressed that one places her too near a adulten Schamahahn.

In Southeast Asia one is in principle convinced of the fact that a Schamahahn did not reach its full Entwicklungsstufe and his potential its 3rd or 4th year of life ago. After the Erstmauser of the juvenilen into the adulten condition a Jungschama before completion of its 1st year of life can go through quite still another Teilmauser. While this 2nd Mauser wins the bird at size and the head can become also still a little stronger. Also the 2 long primary feathers/springs of the tail can extend still around 10% to 15%. These enlargements continue often in smaller steps still up to the 4th Mauser of the bird.

Young birds at the age of 45 days prepare when for the overnight accomodation. The 2nd and 3rd young bird from right are cocks. Other 3 is hens.


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  2. Hello

    Please tell me as a new Shama breeder i Denmark - Is it not possible to keep the pair together the 12 mth. of the year??

    pleas write me back at jve@mail.dk

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