Sunday, October 5, 2008

Shamas from Grik & Baling region

First Published September 2006
I think the most desirable shamas are from the area around Grik and Baling. Godfather was supposed to be from there and other birds from these areas have tended to have better character and structure than birds from elsewhere.

I asked the person from whom I got Godfather why his character, structure and display are better than most shamas. I also asked if the other shamas from this area are like him. I give you his answer below though I cannot say how far it is true.

The area around Grik and Baling is very hilly and forested. There is less food on the hills than there is in the lowlands. The result is that each pair needs to occupy and defend a larger territory. On the entire hill, there may be only a pair of shamas as compared to the lowlands where there may be many pairs in an area of similar size. The need to fight for suitable territory makes the Grik and Baling shamas more aggressive with better display and voice. Also, the voice has to be loud since it must carry over a longer distance to define the limits of a larger territory.

As regards structure, the more windy hillside conditions shapes the bird's more streamlined body. There is also less fat as the bird is more active since it has to hunt longer and further for its food. However, the tails tend to be shorter and it is difficult to find a bird with even 9" tails. Godfather is an exception with his 12" tails.

For the past 5 years, I have been looking for a bird from Grik or Baling with at least 11" tails but I have not been successful.