Drongo belongs to the family Dicruridae and order Passeriformes. This family consists of 29 species in the genus Dicrurus. One of these species is Fork-Tailed drongo. The fork-tailed drongo is an aggressive and fearless small bird.
It is also known as common, African, or Savana Drongo. Fork-Tailed drongo commonly lives in temperate, tropic and sub-tropic zones of Africa. It also resides in the South of Sahara Desert. Its range includes Asia and Africa, but now species residing in the Asian continent are called Black Drongo.
What will I learn?
- 1 Fork-Tailed Drongo – Habitat, Breeding, and Behavior
- 2 Conclusion:
If you are interesting to know more about these clever, fearless birds read this article. It provides you the necessary information about the forked-tail drongo.
Fork-Tailed Drongo – Habitat, Breeding, and Behavior
The Scientific name of forked tail drongo is Dicrurus adsimilis. It belongs to family Dicruridae. These birds are so common in South Africa that a person sitting in a park can easily spot these small fearless birds.
Identification of Fork-tailed drongo:
Fork-Tailed drongo is a small feisty bird with the length that ranges from 23 to 26 cm that is 9 to 10 inches. They weigh almost 40 to 50 grams.
They are black but the head seems to be glossy black than other body parts and has nasal bristles. Its beak is also black and hooked and the eyes are red.
The tail is curved outward forming a fork-like shape after which the species got its name “Fork-Tailed drongo”.
Wings and plumage:
Wings of fork-tailed drongo as compared to the head are dull black. Males and females almost have the same plumage. They do not exhibit obvious and special differences except that the female drongo is less glossy.
Habitat & Distribution:
As discussed above these birds are very common in tropics of Africa and are present there abundantly. Their habitats usually include woodland, bushes, savannas, open forests, grasslands, Riverine woodlands, farmlands, and parks.
These small birds are tolerant of arid climates that is why they are distributed over a large area of land across the sub-Saharan region.
Diet of Fork-tailed Drongo:
These small aggressive and agile birds consider a variety of animals to eat. They are very fond of eating insects therefore you can see them hawking to hunt insects. They also perch around the beehive to catch the bees. Its hunting behavior is still. It “still hunt” the prey by sitting upright on a prominent perch and then attack unsuspecting animals.
Fork-tailed drongo is an omnivore. It can eat bees. Lizards, insect larvae. Small birds and fishes. Moreover, they also eat flower nectar and seeds during arid weather.
Another special behavior that this species exhibits is its habit of steal food. This small bird is so active that it steals food from mammals like mongoose and other birds without any fear. They fly around, set targets,s and attack to steal food. Because of this habit, they are also known as Kleptoparasites.
They also follow the herbivores as they came to know that herbivores have insects in there hiding places. So when they move out drongo swoop in and eat those insects.
Mimicry and Calls:
Another extraordinary habit of these birds is mimicry. These birds have learned to mimic the sound of other animals so are called deceptive mimickers. This ability is used by it to steal food. When an animal gets the food it deceptively mimics alarm calls that creates a panic situation so that animals run away. Fork-tailed drongo than swoop in the nest and steal the food.
It almost spends a quarter of its time following other animals and learning there calls. It fulfills most of its food requirements through these false calls. They usually steal food from pied babbler, mongoose, and meerkats.
The actual call of this bird is a metallic strink-strink. It also uses an actual distinct sound to alert the neighbors if a threat or predator is near.
Breeding and Nesting:
Fork-tailed drongo is a solitary bird and forms monogamous pairs. Their breeding season starts in January and ends in August. They form a hammock-like cup-shaped nest with twigs and small braches which is bounded by a spider web. It is formed between the branches of a high tree that is usually 4 to 5 meters high.
The females lay 2 to 5 eggs in a season. The Eggs may vary in color and are hatched after 15 to 18 days of incubation. During the time both the parents look after them and protect their eggs. Even after eggs are hatched both parents feed their young ones.
Fork-Tailed drongo does not like the presence of any predator around their nests. So when a predator comes near their territory, nests, or young ones they start mobbing. This is a type of tactic behavior that encourages the predator to leave the place and run away.
Drongo easily recognizes the predator and make moves to get rid of it. due to their small size and active courageous lifestyle, drongos can easily knock down large raptors. They can also fight with them during a flight mocking and pecking their heads frustratingly without the fear of being caught.
Black Cuckoo-shrike and the Southern Black Flycatcher are two species that look exactly like Fork-Tailed drongo. Not only by appearance but also by the way they mimic that resembles fork-tailed drongo.
This similarity is quite beneficial for Cuckoo-shrike and Black Flycatcher as they can be protected from predators due to the aggressive and harsh conduct of real Drongo. These species take benefits from this behavior by simply sitting in the vicinity of the area occupied by drongo.
For example in Kenya, it was observed that cuckoo- shrike was foraging and sitting more openly in areas of drongo whereas cryptic-collared female was present in the inner areas of forest.
Threats to Fork-tailed drongo:
According to IUCN, this specie is abundantly present and is of least concern according to the IUCN red list.
Fork-Tailed drongo is small, agile, and aggressive birds. They are known for their aggressive and unique behavior. They are very common in Africa Especially in African safari. A person sitting near the safari can easily spot them.
So next time when you see some black thing hovering over the tree watch them quietly to understand their unique behavior.
And do not forget to share your experience with us.
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