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close this bookIdeas for Action : Save, Recycle and Do Not Pollute (IIRR, 1992, 146 p.)
close this folderWildlife and habitat conservation
View the documentWhat not to do with wildlife
View the documentStop wildlife trade
View the documentMonitoring for the protection of wildlife
View the documentSpecial conservation campaigns for selected wildlife species
View the documentSaving an endangered endemic bird: the case of the black shama (copysychus cebuensis)
View the documentThe making of a sanctuary: the case of the olango wildlife sanctuary (lapu-lapu city, cebu)
View the documentCreation of habitat for birds in urban and rural areas
View the documentBird-watching tips
View the documentWays and reasons for documenting wildlife species and habitats
View the documentDeveloping awareness programs for youth on wildlife conservation

Saving an endangered endemic bird: the case of the black shama (copysychus cebuensis)

The Black Shama is a small bird endemic to Cebu, which can only be found on this island. Once, it was believed to be extinct; but patient and careful monitoring by Ms. Perla Magsalay revealed that some very small populations exist in several towns. This discovery was significant in the ornithological world.

Black Shama

Bird description

The male Black Shama is entirely black, with a blue gloss at the back and a wattle around the eye. The female has a duller color. Immature birds are brown and spotted. It has a long tail. The bill and feet are black. This bird, known for its melodious calls, breeds between February and September.


With the forest cover of Cebu now reduced to almost nil, the remaining scarce and scattered populations survive in the undergrowth of the patches of secondary forest growth tracts, in bamboo groves and thickets. These populations are highly endangered due to habitat loss caused by deforestation and by real estate development projects.

Saving the Black Shama

Saving the Black Shama includes the following activities:

· Research. The Black Shama Project is a pilot project of the Philippine Wetlands and Wildlife Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PWWCFI) on endemic terrestrial birds. The project site is Casili -- part of which belongs to Mandaue City and the other part belongs to Consolacion, Cebu -- which is one of the known habitats of this bird. This consists of private lands. A real estate development project had acquired a substantial portion of these lands. The further enlargement of developed areas led to a corresponding constriction of the Black Shama habitat. Monitoring activities which were conducted daily revealed the necessity for translocation. Possible translocation sites in the province were identified and assessed. The two most probable sites are Buhisan and the Central Cebu National Park.

· Information Activties. Information was disseminated through special lectures, fore and symposia and broadcast and print media. The media exposure led to a dialogue among concerned sectors and a recommendation that the DENR would require the realty corporation to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment, especially in areas affecting their habitat. This was not followed. PWWCFI is making posters and brochures to generate greater awareness and concerns for the Black Shama.

· Lobbying for Legislation. The information dissemination campaigns and networking activities were not able to whip up sufficient mess support. But they were able to influence the municipality of Consolacion, Cebu, to pass an ordinance banning the killing and hunting of the Black Shama Congresswoman Nerissa Soon has also recently filed a bill seeking protection for this bird throughout Cebu.

· Ecotourism. Several ornithologists and bird enthusiasts in the country and abroad have visited Cebu just to see the Black Shama. Guide services and other forms of assistance were provided by PWWCFI personnel.

· Networking. PWWCFI developed linkages with local organizations and concerned individuals. Efforts along this line led to the formation of the Black Shama Foundation. Likewise, the PWWCFI linkages include international organizations like the New York Zoological Society, Wild Bird Society of Japan, International Council on Bird Preservation, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and other ornithological organizations and institutions.


Dickenson, E.,R. Kennedy and K. Parks. The Birds of the Philippines. BOU Checklist No.2, British Ornithologists Union, Henry Ltd., Dorset Press, Dorchester, Great Britain. 1991.

DuPont, J.E. Philippine Birds. Monograph Series 2, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Greenville, Delaware, U.S.A. 1971

Gonzales, P. and C. Rees. Birds of the Philippines. The Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, Inc., Kyodo Printing Co., Manila, Philippines. 1988.

Magsalay, P. The Ecology and Population Status of the Black Shama Copsychus cebuensis, Steer, From Cebu Philippines. (An unpublished thesis presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School, University of San Carlos, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Science in Biology). 1983

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992