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The Black Shama (Copsychus cebuensis) or siloy itom of Cebu

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Black Shama or locally known as Siloy (Copsychus cebuensis), or siloy itom in Cebu, is a bird species which can only be found in the Philippines. It is endemic to the island of Cebu. It lives like a hermit in the forests of Cebu. It is qualified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered on the account that its population in the wild is declining.

 

Species Description:

The siloy is approximately 20 cm. The plumage differs between sexes. The male has an all black plumage that appears glossy blue in good sun lighting. The female has a dark grey to brown plumage.

 

Habitat:  

The siloy is most known to be endemic in the remaining forests of Cebu- Tabunan and Mag-Abo forests. Tabunan is a remote mountain barangay situated at the boundary of Cebu City and Balamban. Mag-Abo forests is in Alcoy. The shama is observed to have preference for  bamboo groves. The bird is known to be secretive; it hides in shaded crevices of limestone forest but is often heard at dawn and dusk. It is never be mistaken that it is the black shama’s melodious call. The bird is believed to feed mainly on insects, such as the beetles, but is observed to occasionally prey on eggs of other birds.

 

Threat and Conservation:

Its major threats include bird hunting and forest degradation or habitat loss. In the 1980s, conservations campaigns have been made through radio and newspapers. As one of Cebu’s official seal, and included as one of celebrated festivals (Siloy Festival) in Cebu provinces, protection of the species have raised awareness among the public.

 

For further information, see:

2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

 

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