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Black Drongo

From Opus

Photo © by jasnjohnKuala Selangor Nature Park, Malaysia, June 2006
Photo © by jasnjohn
Kuala Selangor Nature Park, Malaysia, June 2006

Alternative name: King Crow

Dicrurus macrocercus


[edit] Identification

27 - 31cm (10½-12¼ in). A common drongo of south and southeast Asia:

  • Entirely semi-glossy black plumage
  • Long, deeply forked and well-flared tail
  • Small white spot at gape (rictal spot)
  • Dull red eyes

Sexes similar, females are slightly smaller. Juveniles are blackish-brown.

[edit] Similar species

Ssp. albirictus, sub-adult showing mixed black-brown plumage-color Photo © by Alok Tewari  Bharatpur Keoladeo National Park, India, July. 2015
Ssp. albirictus, sub-adult showing mixed black-brown plumage-color
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Bharatpur Keoladeo National Park, India, July. 2015

Ashy Drongo is smaller and slimmer and has a longer and narrower-splayed tail. It has also brighter red eyes.
The fork-tailed form of Asian Drongo-Cuckoo can be quite similar.

[edit] Distribution

The Indian subcontinent and China through South-East Asia discontinuously to Java and Bali.
Introduced in Northern Marianas (Rota Island) from where it colonized Guam.


all year
Maps/Texts consulted2

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

JuvenilePhoto © by obroadieSukhothai, Thailand, August 2016
Photo © by obroadie
Sukhothai, Thailand, August 2016

There are 7 subspecies[1]:

Forms a superspecies with Fork-tailed Drongo and is sometimes considered conspecific.

[edit] Habitat

Open country and farmland with scattered trees. Also in villages, parks, gardens and towns.

[edit] Behaviour

Photo © by HS-TRAThailand, February 2015
Photo © by HS-TRA
Thailand, February 2015

Gregarious, gathering in small groups. Hawks for insects from open perches, including small trees and telephone wires. Forms communal roosts.

[edit] Breeding

A solitary, highly territorial nester. Defends its nest against bigger birds like crows or raptors. The nest is a broad shallow cup, made of twigs, rootlets, fine grass stems and other vegetable matter. It's placed 4 - 7m above the ground in a tree. Lays 2 - 5 eggs.

[edit] Diet

Their diet consists of insects, including locusts, grasshoppers, beetles and crickets.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  3. Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672

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