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  • Aditya Singh

The Confident Black Drongo:



The black beauty

This bird is uni-colored: the beak, whiskers, eyes, wings and underside are all black. The upperside and wings are glossy. The tail is long and has a deep fork to it.


Each has a favorite perch that may be electric cables, tall grasses, a tree branch or even a termite mound.


On one of its favorite perches

They may also piggy back on cattle and goats.


On the back of a Nilgai (Blue bull) 

This bird eats mainly insects and like the Paradise-flycatcher, they catch insects mid-air and return to the same perch repeatedly.


The nest…there is no attempt to hide it

They build their nest on the branches of a young tree or bush. No attempt is made to hide it – which is quite surprising with so many birds of prey and other predators around. This is perhaps because they are so confident of their own ability to defend the nest. I have seen them scare away much larger birds. They also don’t mind sitting on the same tree with predatory birds. I have seen them scare away large mammals, too.

Drongos are excellent fliers and mimics. Photographing them in flight has always been a challenge for me. They are extremely agile and can make very sharp movements while in flight.

Drongo and the juvenile:

There was a juvenile drongo that was perched on a branch. An adult drongo also took perch on the same branch a little away from the young one. One could see it had caught a green insect and was trying to quickly eat it by tearing off small bits. The juvenile wanted a bite too, so it hopped closer to the adult. But the adult not wanting to share, turned away and hopped to the edge of the branch and continued eating. Then suprisingly, offered it to the young bird only to grab it back and again hand it back. What was happening? By this time the juvenile had lost patience and swallowed the insect. it was’nt easy. it took several gulps to get it in. In the end only the antenna was left sticking out of its beak. Then, I realized the truth. The sensible adult was trying to make it easy for the young one to swallow by picking off the tougher parts – the antenna, the legs and the wings of the insect. The insect was intended for the young one. The adult could only have been a caring parent.



Just caught one…getting ready to eat

Being an insect eater, this bird faces the same problems as most insect-eaters. Indiscriminate spraying and use of insecticides and pesticides not only for agriculture and industry, but also in the households is affecting this important food source for many bird species. Even the insects useful for the environment & the ecosystem – Bees, Butterflies and Spiders are all impacted.

Ladybird beetles, Dragonflies and Glow worms are all vanishing. One rarely gets to see the magical Glow worms nowadays.

This is a worldwide problem was explained beautifully by Bob and Anne Marie in the comment section of my last post. Big Thankyou Bob, Anne Marie.

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