The Black Shama

Copsychus cebuensis

Photo of a Black Shama in Tabunan Forest, Cebu, by Raul Benjamin Puentespina.

The Black Shama is an all-black bird that sings a rich, melodious song that sounds like long whistles in varying tones. The Black Shama's size and all-black plumage makes it hard to find so its song is what usually signals its presence. Because of this it is usually heard before it is seen. Interestingly it has also been observed that the Black Shama mimics the songs of other birds as well1.

Listen to samples of its songs here:

Found only on the Philippine island of Cebu, the Black Shama prefers forested areas but has also been found in other habitats such as along steep ravines, plantations, and bamboo groves. There are even reports of the Black Shama in highly ubanized areas, including the main hub of the island Cebu City2.

The Black Shama can only be found on the Philippine island of Cebu.

The Black Shama is an endangered species4

Cebu was once totally covered in forests but this medium-sized island is home to a bustling hub in Central Philippines. By 1960 nearly the whole island was cleared to provide for homes, farm plots, and plantations3. Today what is left of Cebu's forests is still threatened by housing developments, illegal settlement, shifting cultivation, logging, and mining. Because of this data, the IUCN had deemed the Black Shama as endangered4.

How you can help

The following organizations contribute not only to the conservation of this particular species, but to the diverse range of birds found in the Philippines.

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

Established in 2003, The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines is the pioneer bird watching club in the nation dedicated to promoting bird watching as a hobby and as a responsible way of enjoying the Philippines' most coveted natural habitats. The volunteer-led club contributes to the conservation of Philippine endangered birds by promoting bird watching as a healthy and recreational practice, encouraging responsible behavior from local communities and tourists alike, as well as environmentally-responsible policies from local governments and officials.

The Haribon Foundation

Started in 1972, Haribon, named after the Philippine Eagle's name in Filipino for "Bird King", gave birth to the Philippine environmental movement. Eventually coupling itself with international conservation organizations such as BirdLife International and the World Wildlife Fund, Haribon has contributed greatly not only to help establish conservation reserves and parks for Philippine birds and other species domestically, but to publications that put the Philippines on the map internationally in regards to its unique but endangered bird populations.

The Philippine Eagle Foundation

Since 1987 the Philippine Eagle Foundation has been focused on saving the Philippine Eagle and consequently saving hundreds of other species that live within its forest realms in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. With the help of donors and grants, the foundation conducts research, rehabilitation, and captive breeding programs.

Help endangered birds worldwide

BirdLife International is the world's largest partnership of conservation organizations. 117 organizations make up this partnership in over 100 countries across the globe, including the Philippine's own Haribon Foundation. Together, they create bird mascots and flagships to help push for the conservation of endangered birds, consequently conserving the forests they reside and the other wildlife in these areas. By doing so they conserve biodiversity in these areas to improve the quality of people's lives and integrating bird conservation into sustaining people's livelihoods. A symbiotic relationship is then created between people and the environment, as opposed to the "one uses the other" practice that is currently established the world over.

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*This site is not affiliated with the "Angry Birds" game, Rovio, or Jaakko Iisalo, and is for educational purposes only. Learn more about the illustrator here. If you find any errors please let me know!


1. description on the Black Shama (Copsychus cebuensis).

2. Birdlife species factsheet on the Black Shama.

3. From "Endangered Wildlife and Plants of the World."

4. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Copsychus cebuensis (Black Shama).