2 minute read

Drongos: Dicruridae

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (dicrurus Paradiseus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The body length is 13 inches (33 centimeters). The plumage is black all over with iridescent shades of blue on the upper wings. The head bears a crest of feathers that begins at the upper base of the beak. The eyes are bright red. The bill is gray. The tail is as long as the body, forked into two narrow, almost wire-like feathers, each of which flares into a rounded shape at the tip, thus the "racket-tail."

Geographic range: Greater racket-tailed drongos live in all of India, Sri Lanka, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, into Southeast Asia, including southwestern China, Hainan Island, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo.

Habitat: These drongos are found in tropical rainforest.

Diet: These birds eat insects, including moths, termites and dragonflies. Also lizards, small birds and nectar.

Behavior and reproduction: There is limited information. The species forms monogamous pairs, female and male sharing in incubating the clutch of up to three eggs, and feeding the young. The parents savagely defend the nest and young. The nest is cup-shaped and built in at the fork of a tree branch.

Greater racket-tailed drongos and people: There is no significant interaction between greater racket-tailed drongos and people.

Conservation status: These birds are not threatened. ∎



Goodman, Steven M., and Jonathan P. Benstead. The Natural History of Madagascar. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Kavanagh, James. African Birds. Chandler, AZ: Waterford Press, 2001.

Morris, P., and F. Hawkins. Birds of Madagascar: A Photographic Guide. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.

Pizzey, G., and F. Knight. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Sydney, Australia: Angus and Robertson, 1997.

Strange, Morten. Birds of Southeast Asia: A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. London: New Holland, 1998.

Strange, Morten. A Photographic Guide to Birds of Malaysia and Singapore: Including Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Borneo. Singapore: Periplus, 2000.


Duckworth, J. W. "Mobbing of a Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris." Ibis 139, no. 1 (1997): 190–192.

Herremans, M., and T. D. Herremans. "Social Foraging of the Forktailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis: Beater Effect of Kleptoparasitism?" Bird Behavior 12, nos. 1–2 (1997): 41–45.

Khacher, L. "Mimicry by Grey Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus." Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 94, no. 3 (1997): 569.

Manson, A. J. "Unusual Behaviour of Square-tailed Drongo." Honeyguide 114/115, no. 54 (1983).

Nair, M. V. "An Instance of Play Behaviour in Black Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis (Bechstein)." Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 92, no. 2 (1995): 266.

Vernon, C. J. "Vocal Imitation by Southern African Birds." Ostrich 44, no. 1 (1973): 23–30

Web sites:

"MAGPIE-LARKS Grallinidae." CREAGRUS@Monterey Bay. http://www.montereybay.com/creagrus/magpie-larks.html (accessed on July 20, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsDrongos: Dicruridae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Square-tailed Drongo (dicrurus Ludwigii): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, DRONGOS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS