PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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  • A Softbill
  • Scientific Name: Copsychus malabaricus indicus
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: ?
  • Origin / Distribution: India and Indonesia
  • Habitat In Wild: ?
  • Status In Wild: ?
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity: Rare. Very few breeding pairs.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:
  • Adult plumage: attained at about ? months  
  • Best breeding years (estimate): 12 months - 7th year,  may breed longer but with less productivity.
  • Lifespan (estimate): approx.  10 - 15 years 
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic Differences more evident after the first full moult.
  • Colour mutations: No
  • Availability: Specialist breeders.
  • Temperament: Highly prized overseas as one of the finest singers, although not as good as the Nightingale.  Shamas can learn environmental sounds and imitate sounds of other birds.  Always present in perfect plumage condition, except for about 2 weeks per year during moulting.  Often kept overseas in an indoor cage for its fine appearance and singing ability.  Quickly becomes tame and will feed out of the owner's hand.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $Lots
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 240 - 250 mm (or approx 9.5 - 10 inches) Tail may be half its total length.
  2. Colour ("normal" colour): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. ? gms (or approx. ? ozs)

Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws:  Refer to "Government Laws" web page.

Housing Requirements:  Click on "Housing birds" web page for general details on the housing of  Softbills or read on for specific details for this finch.

Two aviaries are required for each pair as it is recommended that the cock bird is removed to another aviary during the non breeding season.  The cock bird is reintroduced prior to the commencement of the breeding season.

Can be housed in a cage for its singing but for good breeding results an aviary is preferable.

May be kept with other finches in a very large planted aviary but with their rarity in Australian aviaries it would be best to give each pair an aviary of their own.

Diet / Feeding:  Click on "Softbills" web page for general details on the nutrition of  Softbills or read on for specific details for this finch.

Require a variety of insects for good breeding results.  Generally a tidy eater, not scattering its food.

Require a variety of insects for good breeding results.  Mealworms, crickets, locusts, grasshoppers, cockroaches, slaters and other suitable insects should be offered to the birds.

Nesting:  A basic overview only.

  • Roosting nest: Yes / No
  • Nesting months:
  • Nesting receptacles:  Usually prefers a half open nest box.
  • Nest:  The hen builds a nest out of grasses, twigs, mosses, short pieces of teased hessian and other materials. Nest is lined with feathers, soft materials and soft fine grasses. May use a half open nest box.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen / cock / both share.

Breeding: Egg Colour .?.  Clutch/s per year  2.  Eggs per nest 3 - 5.  Incubation approx. 13 days.  Fledge approx. 17 - 20 days.  Independent approx. another 2 - 4 weeks.

The mating process is a rather aggressive affair and it is best to breed them in a well planted aviary so the hen can escape unwanted attention.

The cock bird shares the feeding of the young. The young are fed by both parents for up to 2 weeks after they have left the nest.  The young are fed entirely on insects for the first few weeks.

Young should be removed from the parent birds as soon as they are fully independent so as to avoid possible aggression from a parent. This will also allow the hen to start another clutch.

Artificial incubation, hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.  Refer "Specific References" as listed below and "General References" listings.

Health Issues: Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new birds or sick birds are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site. Refer above option - "Avian Health Issues" web page.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace. Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References: Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture

  • Australian Birdkeeper

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