The Fork-tailed Drongo, also called the Common Drongo, African Drongo, or Savanna Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis), is a drongo, a type of small passerine bird of the Old World tropics. The species was earlier considered to cover Asia, but the Asian species is now called the Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus). They are members of the family Dicruridae.
The Fork-tailed Drongo is a common and widespread resident breeder in Africa south of the Sahara. These insect-eating birds are usually found in open forests or bush. Two to four eggs are laid in a cup nest in a fork high in a tree.
These are aggressive and fearless birds, given their small size, and will attack much larger species, including birds of prey if their nest or young are threatened.
The male is mainly glossy black, although the wings are duller. It is large-headed and has the forked tail which gives the species its name. The female is similar but less glossy. The bill is black and heavy, and the eye is red.
The Fork-tailed Drongo is 25 cm long. It has short legs and sits very upright whilst perched prominently, like a shrike. It flycatches or take prey from the ground and is attracted to bush fires.
The call is a metallic strink-strink. The Fork-tailed Drongo in Africa are capable of using deceptive mimicked alarm calls to steal food from meerkats.
The subspecies D. a. modestus (Príncipe) together with D. a. coracinus and D. a. atactus (Bioko and mainland west and central Africa from Guinea east to western Kenya and south to Angola) is usually split as a separate species, the Velvet-mantled Drongo D. modestus, (Hartlaub, 1849).
- BirdLife International (2012). "Dicrurus adsimilis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- Tom Flower, Fork-tailed drongos use deceptive mimicked alarm calls to steal food Proc. R. Soc. B rspb20101932; published ahead of print November 3, 2010, doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.1932 1471-2954, http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/10/27/rspb.2010.1932.full
- African Bird Club (2006) ABC African Checklist: Passerines. Accessed 16/01/08.
- Birds of The Gambia by Barlow, Wacher and Disley, ISBN 1-873403-32-1
- Sinclair, Ian & Ryan, Peter (2003) Birds of Africa south of the Sahara, Struik, Cape Town.
- Fork-tailed Drongo - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds.
- fotocommunity.de A very nice photo of a Fork-tailed Drongo
- Fork-tailed Drongo videos, photos & sounds on the Internet Bird Collection
- Photo of a fork tailed drongo taking off from a branch
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