It is not an uncommon bird - the White-rumped Shama, it has a huge range and like so many Himalayan species - the range ends just about 100 odd km from my home - Chandigarh. This and the fact that it was also one of the birds that I have chased for a fairly long time, that I actually remember never seeing in my life - so this was a bird, a True Lifer. Often birders going to Dehradun would report this bird and many-a-times I tried chasing but to no avail.
And then last month I planned the magical trip to Ganeshgudi and kept this one bird in the list of birds that I would like to see. I saw it - and guess what - I saw the bird up close in Ganeshgudi and then saw it once again 3,000 km from Ganeshgudi in Dimapur - and that too those two sightings in a gap of 10 days. This brings me to the point that I have realised so many time - with Wallcreeper, with Blue-bearded Bee-eaters and so many other birds - you may chase the bird you like but you will spot them the day they decide that it is time for you to see them.
Now a little bit about this bird - it is a mid-sized bird - 21-28 cm in size that includes a fairly long tail of almost 7 cm in males. Tha tail is graduated with dark blue-black glossy head of male and grey-black upper parts in a female. The underparts of the tail and the rump is white. There are five subspecies and what I saw in Ganeshgudi would be ssp malabarica and the subspecies in Dimapur might be ssp tricolor (this one I have to confirm). What makes this bird so special is the fact that it has one of the finest, rich, powerful and almost fluty melodious song. The bird is not listed as threatened and infact said to be locally common at places in India.
Here goes, some of the beautiful pictures of my sighting one two occasions in Ganeshgudi over two days and one sighting in Zoological park of Dimapur.
|Same bird on day two. A great sighting though the bird was very very sharp and suspicious on both days...|
|The sightings at Dimapur were of three birds, with the breeding season on - the birds were all males and aggressive...|
|The sightings of the birds in Dimapur were not from as close as in OMG - but great nevertheless...|
|The range of the bird...|
The range of the bird is huge as I explained earlier but then this is shared by all five sub-species and its strength or the thing of beauty is also it's greatest enemy. Having a great song - this bird is trapped as a songbird and by mid-1980 it became rare in Java due to trapping and trade. The Kangean race is now so rare that the very survival is in question.
You can connect the dots for yourself. The recordings of this bird are restricted on Xeno-canto - the biggest resource of bird sounds due to the immense pressure and the fact that the recordings are more likely as not are used for trapping and luring the birds. I do not have anything else to say and I rest my case...