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Black Drongo - BirdForum Opus

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

Alternative name: King Crow

Dicrurus macrocercus


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.

Similar species

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.


Map-Black Drongo.jpg

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



Photo © by obroadie
Sukhothai, Thailand, August 2016

There are 7 subspecies[1]:

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


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


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.


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.


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


  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 http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  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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