Basic Information

Scientific Name Dicrurus macrocercus
Featured bird groups Land Bird
Phylum Chordata

Black Drongo is an all-black bird.Adult has glossy blue-black or green-black plumage, with semi-translucent primaries visible in flight. Tail is long and deeply forked, and curves out at the end of outer tail feathers. Head is black, with only very small white patch at bill’s commissures. Bill is black. Eyes are reddish. Legs and feet are dark grey. Both sexes are similar.Juvenile is browner, with white tips to flanks and belly feathers, and brown eyes. It has shorter tail than adults.


Black Drongo is common in open areas, savannahs and countries. It lives in open forests, habitation, farmlands and slightly wooded habitats, near water. It may be found from sea level to 2000 metres of elevation.


Black Drongo feeds on insects which it catches performing aerial sallies to pursue prey with bee-eater-like glides, and heavy flycatching actions. It hunts from a perch where it sits very upright because it has short legs. It may catch insects on the ground, and can also capture some reptiles or nestlings. Then, it returns to the perch, in order to tear the prey before to swallow it. It also perches on the back of cattle for insects disturbed by animals. During breeding season, some displays may be observed. Pairs, or competitive trio, are perched close to each other, or face to face. They perform duets, singing with harsh scolding notes, while they strongly bow their heads up and down. They also perform fluttering aerial chases.  Most of tropical populations are resident and may be nomadic outside breeding season. However, populations living in northern areas are strongly migratory.  Black Drongo is a gregarious bird, roosting in flocks outside breeding period. Then, they disperse at dawn to their feeding areas. Black Drongo is very territorial, defending vigorously feeding and breeding territories. It is fearless in front of larger birds, and will attack much larger species if nest or young are threatened. It can chase large crows or kites. This species may even chase other birds, in order to steal their preys.


Black Drongo has powerful and varied calls. They include scrapings and raucous calls, also metallic sounds. Call is a harsh, throaty “schweep-schweep”. But we can also hear beautiful and clear whistles.

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