Oriental Magpie Robin. I’ve always thought of this bird as a corporate bird 😀 Yes, because of the way it is colored, it appears as if it has worn a black colored suit. Magpie Robin too have a very sweet voice and are found almost anywhere in India. These are very well known as urban garden visitors. Although, in many areas, the number of Magpie Robins is now on a decline and the species is considered as one of “little concern” globally.
Video of Oriental Magpie – Male Robin Singing
Oriental Magpie Robins are insectivores, mainly feeding on insects and other invertebrates. They also feed on ants, geckos, leeches and sometimes even fish. A few days back, I bought a bird house for small birds thinking that it may be used by Sparrows. I put it up on a tree in our garden. Even after 2 months the bird house remained unoccupied. I almost felt like I had fallen for a gimmick, but decided to give it more time thinking that the birds may need time to build some trust in that box and also to get to know the surrounding areas well.
I soon put up a bird bath during the summer to try and lure any of the bird species to come and build a nest in the bird house. Later I realized that the opening of the bird house was a little too large and birds like sparrows need enclosed surroundings to build a nest and thus I made some modifications with help of a carpenter in order to ensure that the opening is not too large. I guess that worked. A few more days of vacancy finally got filled up when I saw a sparrow checking out the bird house. It flew in and out and sat on top of the roof of the bird house for some time and left. I couldn’t find it there any more until one fine day when I woke up to some heavy chirping of sparrows and noticed a male sparrow carrying some dry leaves and grass, doing rounds of the bird house. I was quite excited about this.
Video of a Sparrow Checking Out the Bird House
The excitement for the sparrow however, was short lived. As in a few days there was this Oriental Magpie Robin couple who barged inside the bird house and made sure the sparrow wasn’t seen anywhere around. That way, Oriental Magpie Robin are really aggressive and known to be bullies. They could drive away birds who are much larger than they are. I’ve noticed that happening to crows and even kites on some occasions.
This Robin couple stayed in the house for long enough to lay eggs and hatch them. There were soon the younger ones seen popping out the tiny opening of the bird house, waiting for food that their parents would find and bring for them. Some times some cherries and some times it used to be insects and lizards. This couple left after the juveniles I guess, were able to fly and I’m guessing the couple would be back post winter for round 2. And from the incidence, I’ve definitely learned that there’s no answer to the question – How to get birds to adopt the bird house you’ve put up.
Here are some photos of Oriental Magpie Robin both Male and Female, mostly shot using Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Digital Camera.