This is one of the commonest and most widespread birds in Sri Lanka, and is one of the best songbirds inhabiting this country. For many, it is the only familiar songbird and the loud and melodious calls of the males are heard these day, from the wee hours of the morning till it is quite dark, and even at times during clear, moonlit nights.
However, some people treat this bird with suspicion and fear due to them believing in some baseless superstitions. One such superstition is that it is a bird of ill-omen, a fallacy based on the black-and-white plumage which is considered by some as mourning colours. The other is that the calls of it brings sorrow to a family, a completely baseless myth that is really associated with the Magpie of Europe, which has similar coloration but belongs to a different family.
It is seen usually on the ground, or on bushes and shrubs and on the lower branches of trees and are found singly or as pairs. It is always active, even in the hot mid-day, hopping about in the ground or in bushes and flying from one place to another. The tail is mostly kept cocked up; showing the white under side and the tail is depressed and spread out from time to time.
It is not shy of human beings, but is always vary and alert to everything in the surroundings, looking around by turning the head and when in need of better views, changing direction quickly
Jagath Gunawardana Attorney-at-law