indian robin


C. fulicatus



Local Names

Indian robin




native to indian subcontinent, Nepal, Pakistan

DNA Barcode


Indian robin
The Indian robin (Copsychus fulicatus) is a species of bird in the family Muscicapidae. It is widespread in the Indian subcontinent and ranges across Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The males of the northern subspecies have brown backs whose extent gradually reduces southwards, with the males of the southern subspecies having all-black backs. They are commonly found in open scrub areas and often seen running along the ground or perching on low thorny shrubs and rocks. The long tail is usually held up and the chestnut undertail coverts and dark body make them easily distinguishable from pied bushchats and Oriental magpie-robins.
The Indian robin is sexually dimorphic in plumage, with the male being mainly black with a white shoulder patch or stripe whose visible extent can vary with posture. The northern populations have the upper plumage brownish, while the southern populations are black above. The males have chestnut undertail coverts and these are visible as the bird usually holds the 6–8 cm long tail raised upright. The females are brownish above, have no white shoulder stripe and are greyish below, with the vent a paler shade of chestnut than the males. Birds of the northern populations are larger than those from southern India or Sri Lanka. Juvenile birds are much like females, but the throat is mottled.
Several subspecies are named based on their plumage differences. The nominate subspecies refers to the population found across southern peninsular India. The subspecies leucopterus is found in Sri Lanka. In the two subspecies cambaiensis of northern and north-western India and erythrura (=erythrurus) of north-eastern India (south to around Sambalpur), the males have brown backs. The subspecies intermedius includes birds in appearance between cambaiensis, erythrura and fulicata, the last one found in central India and parts of the Deccan region. The subspecies munda was named based on a specimen from the Punjab, but it is now considered synonymous with cambaiensis. Older classifications treat the population in southern India as the subspecies ptymatura while considering the type locality as Sri Lanka, although it has subsequently been restricted to Pondicherry.
Local names recorded by Jerdon include Nalanchi (Telugu), Wannatikuruvi (Tamil, Washerman bird), Dayaal (Marathi) Kalchuri (Hindi) and Paan kiriththaa (Sinhala). The former genus name indicates that it looks similar to Saxicola, the genus of the pied bushchat, a bird often found in similar habitats.
This bird is found in open stony, grassy and scrub forest habitats. They are mainly found in dry habitats and are mostly absent from the thicker forest regions and high rainfall areas. All populations are resident and non-migratory. The species is often found close to human habitation and will frequently perch on rooftops. The species was introduced into the New York region, but did not become established there. A vagrant or escape has been noted from the Maldives. The breeding season is December to September, but varies according to region and usually begins with the first rains. Peak breeding in northern India is in June and is earlier in Southern India. In Sri Lanka, breeding is in March to June and August to September. Males sing during this season and display by lowering and spreading their tail feathers and strutting around the female, displaying their sides and fluffing their undertail coverts. The songs of males have variants for inviting mates and for deterring other males. Males will drive away other males and patrol their territory by flying with slow wing beats from perch to perch. They may sometimes peck at their reflections. An aggressive display involves fluffing up the feathers and holding the bill high.