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Hair-crested Drongo

From Opus

ssp brevirostrisPhoto © by anonymous_guyLamma Island, Hong Kong, April 2005
ssp brevirostris
Photo © by anonymous_guy
Lamma Island, Hong Kong, April 2005
Dicrurus hottentottus


[edit] Identification

Nominate subspecies showing spangles and hacklesPhoto © by Alok TewariDudhwa National Park, Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, India, January-2015
Nominate subspecies showing spangles and hackles
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Dudhwa National Park, Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, India, January-2015

25 - 32cm (9¾-12½ in). A variable species. Features of the nominate subspecies are:

  • Long hair-like feathers springing from forehead, extending over hindcrown and upper back (not in all subspecies)
  • Black plumage, brightly glossed metallic blue-green
  • Numerous breast spangles and broad and very large, long and glossy neck hackles
  • Tail nearly square-ended, inner four pairs of rectrices ending almost at same level as outer pair
  • Reddish-brown or dark brown eye

Sexes similar, females are duller. Juveniles are browner and less glossed.

[edit] Distribution

Found on the Indian Subcontinent, in the Himalayas, Burma, big parts of China, Indochina and on Borneo, Sulawesi and parts of the Philippines (see taxonomy).
Locally common. Some island subspecies are under threat due to deforestation.

[edit] Taxonomy

ssp striatusPhoto by Mark BrucePICOP, Bislig, Mindanao Island, Philippines, January 2009
ssp striatus
Photo by Mark Bruce
PICOP, Bislig, Mindanao Island, Philippines, January 2009

Has been considered conspecific with Spangled Drongo, Sumatran Drongo, Wallacean Drongo, Balicassiao, Sulawesi Drongo and Ribbon-tailed Drongo and may form a superspecies with all these forms.

Tablas Drongo was regarded as a subspecies of this species.

[edit] Subspecies

Immature, ssp brevirostrisPhoto © by anonymous_guyLamma Island, Hong Kong, August 2007
Immature, ssp brevirostris
Photo © by anonymous_guy
Lamma Island, Hong Kong, August 2007
Subspecies leucopsPhoto © by julienlTangkoko National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia, May 2018
Subspecies leucops
Photo © by julienl
Tangkoko National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia, May 2018

Eight to sixteen subspecies recognized[1],[2]:

  • similar to nominate but smaller bill
  • D. h. viridinitens on Mentawi Islands (off Sumatra)
  • D. h. borneensis in North Borneo, Maratua and Matasiri islands
  • blue in general colour, rather short frontal filaments, small and strong bill
  • D. h. jentincki on Bali and Kangean Islands
  • similar to faberi but with a longer tail and less deep black plumage
  • D. h. leucops on Sulawesi, adjacent islands and northern Moluccas
  • D. h. guillemardi on central Moluccas (Bisa and Obi)
  • well-developed long, broad and very well-glossed neck hackles, brown eye
  • D. h. pectoralis on Sula Islands (Taliabu, Mangola and Sanana)
  • similar to guillemardi but smaller, longer and broader hackles and a red eye
  • D. h. banggaiensis on Banggai Island (not accepted by Clements)
  • similar to guillemardi but smaller, frontal filaments only present in some birds, brown eye
  • D. h. faberi on Panaitan Island and islands in Jakarta Bay (not accepted by Clements)
  • Smaller than nominate, deeper black below and with a creamy white eye

The following subspecies were regarded as a part of the Spangled Drongo complex by some authorities[1] but are now commonly included in this species:

  • D. h. samarensis on Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Calicoan, Panaon and Bohol (east-central Philippines)
  • very short, straight and square-ended tail, no frontal filaments
  • similar to borneensis but with red eye, no frontal filaments and four inner pairs of rectrices becoming gradually longer, tips of outermost with with slight tendency to curl upwards
  • D. h. cuyensis on Semirara and Cuyo (west-central Philippines)
  • similar to palawanensis but with strongly greenish gloss
  • D. h. striatus on Basilan, Mindanao and Nipa (south Philippines)
  • similar to samarensis but tail a little longer and slightly forked
  • D. h. suluensis in the Sulu Archipelago (south-west Philippines)
  • frontal filaments always present, more deeply forked tail than otherwise similar pectoralis

Further taxonomic research is needed to clear species boarders.

[edit] Gallery

Click on photo for larger image

[edit] Habitat

Found in different types of forest, preferring broadleaf evergreen and moist deciduous forest. Occurs from sea-level up to 1500m, occasionally up to 2000m.

[edit] Behaviour

They move singly or in small flocks and are very noisy.

[edit] Diet

Feeds on insects and nectar. Also reported to hawk for lizards.

[edit] Breeding

Breeding season poorly documented, from April to June in northern India, April to July in southwest Asia. Very noisy and aggressive towards disturbance while breeding. The nest is a deep saucer made of grass, rootlets and tendrils of creepers. It's usually placed in a tree but also reported in bamboo in China. Lays 3 - 4 eggs.

[edit] Movements

Most populations are resident but birds in the northern part of the distribution (China) migrate south to Indochina.

[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

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