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Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Liz Bonnin presents the greater racket-tailed drongo of South-East Asia.

Tweet of the Day is the voice of birds and our relationship with them, from around the world.

Liz Bonnin presents the greater racket-tailed drongo of South-East Asia. Across a clearing in a Malaysian forest flies a dark bird, seemingly chased by two equally dark butterflies. Those butterflies in hot pursuit aren't insects at all; they are the webbed tips of the greater racket-tailed drongo's excessively long wiry outer-tail feathers, which from a distance look like separate creatures as it flies. Glossy blue-black birds which live in wooded country and are great insect catchers, hawking after them in mid-air before returning to a perch. They're bold too and won't hesitate to harry and chase much larger birds than themselves, including, birds of prey. Like other drongos the greater racquet-tailed drongo has an extensive but not very musical repertoire which includes the sounds of other birds it meets, when it joins mixed feeding flocks, and can imitate the call of a hawk to alarm the hawk's victims and so steal food from them while they are distracted by the call: an ingenious tactic, which few other birds have learned.

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2 minutes

Last on

Sun 14 Jul 2019 08:58

Greater racket-tailed drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)

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Webpage image courtesy of Bernard Castelein /

NPL Ref 01397043 © Bernard Castelein /

Recording of greater racket-tailed drongo by Eric R Gulson / Ref: ML 181758

This programme contains a wildtrack recording of the greater racket-tailed drongo kindly provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; recorded by Eric R Gulson on 21 Apr 2013, at Tawau Hills Park, Tawau District, Sabah, Malaysia.


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