Greater Racket-tailed Drongo: The Imposter

Drongo One of the first birds we discovered! The two black rackets hanging down their tails are their hallmarks! Do you see them in the picture? They’re basically two long streamers coming from the tail, each tipped with a feather. This one is a bit fuzzy from the rain 🙂

Description: The greater racket-tailed drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) is an Asian bird. It’s rather crow-like, with black feathers all over and red eyes. It has a crest on top of its head (not sure if you can see one in the picture above, it’s probably flattened by the rain) and its characteristic “rackets” – streamers hanging down from its tail with a feather on the tip. They live in forests. They’re aggressive birds and may sometimes mob larger birds, especially when nesting! :O

Status: Common resident breeder in Singapore.

Note: another member of the family is the lesser racket-tailed drongo, which basically looks similar to this species but is not found in Singapore.

Diet: Mostly insects but also eats fruits. It may even steal insect prey caught by other members of the flock! Terrible!

Fun fact: It is remarkable for its wide range of calls and ability to mimic the calls of other birds so well that it can fool seasoned birdwatchers! They can accurately learn and mimic alarm calls of other birds through interactions in mixed-species flocks, and are said to use these calls to scare other birds and steal prey from them in the ensuing panic. It’s even called a kleptoparasite. Smart but nasty!


Pictures:

16th May 2014

First pictures of a drongo! Very blurry because they were taken through the binoculars, but it’s a start. Spotted just after it rained.   DSC03024


23rd May 2014

Also rather blurry… (still through the binoculars) DSC03074


2nd June 2014

The new camera! Yay! You can tell these pictures are sharper. The drongo seemed like it was strangely eating a leaf! (but was probably eating a grasshopper) It was spotted after the rain. IMG_0435   IMG_0442 IMG_0428


5th June 204

Drongos always seem to appear after the rain! They like to sun themselves. We first spotted one drongo fluffing its feathers. It’s difficult to get a clear picture because it keeps moving around to dry itself!   IMG_0748 IMG_0748 cropped Then, a second drongo flew in!!!   IMG_0918 cropped  IMG_0940 cropped    

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