The drongos are generally solitary, tree-dwelling birds usually encountered resting on some convenient tree perch from which they sally forth to snap up some suitable passing insect. Many of them make spec-tabular swoops, curves, and twists in pursuit of their prey.
The adoption of this kind of feeding tech-unique in woodland calls for much greater maneuverability than is necessary when hawking in open country, hence many drongos have acquired long and often lyre-shaped tails. The shape and structure of the tail vary greatly. From cut-off and shallow-forked to very deeply forked. The outer tail feathers may be extremely long, curled or denuded of barbs and ending in spoon-shaped rackets, as is found in the Greater racket-tailed drongos of India and Southeast Asia, which have a tail length of 3icm (1- 2in)or more. African drongoss are conventional in appearance compared with some of the Asiatic species, which have conspicuous crests as well as racket-shaped tails.
Seven species of drongos occur in Africa, Madagascar, Comoros, and the island of Aldabra, the remainder being found in the Oriental region. The Spangled ddrongo’shaste most extensive range of any drongo, extending from the northern Himalayas to China and through the whole of Indo-Malaysia to the Austral-Papuan regions, afar as the eastern Solomon’s, and in eastern Australia, with some 3o recognized races.
The Black ddrongois are one of the most abundant and familiar birds of India and are often seen perched on the earth banks surrounding the fields near villages. It often accompanies grazing cattle, snatching insects disturbed by the animals’ move-mints through the grass, or riding upon their backs. Black drongos are considered tubes of great usefulness to agriculture, in destroying vast quantities of insect pests.
They are bold and pugnacious birds with piratical habits, setting upon foraging birds with great speed and determination, pursuing them relentlessly with agile twists and turns, forcing them to give up their prey. The Black ddrongooften retrieves the prey in mid-air and then calmly flies back to its perch, where it tears the insect to pieces with its hooked bill while holding it in its feet.
Grassland will attract considerable numbers of Black drongos to hunt and catch the escaping insects. They also have a great liking for winged termites, hunting them till well into dusk, when they are frequently seen flying up vertically to snatch them on the wing.
A nesting pair of Black drongos will fearlessly attack any crow or raptor which crosses its nesting territory, with great faro-city. During the winter, numbers will con-greater to roost in the company in bamboo clumps. The Black drongo’s range has seven subspecies from southeastern Iran through India to China, Java, and Bali.
The Fork-tailed drongos of Africa are very similar to the Black drongos and are sometimes regarded as being the same species. It also shows the same tenacity; often in much larger birds than itself. It is widely distributed south of the Sahara in the savanna wherever there are trees.
The Shining drongos of West Africa range in lowland forests and are difficult to distinguish from the Fork-tailed drongos. However, it is more given to joining the mixed bird parties of the forest, preferring the sunlight of the high tree tops and the edges of the forest clearings.
The drongos of Madagascar, the Comoro islands, and Aldabra are closely related to the Fork-tailed drongos. The Crested drongos of Madagascar and Anjou islands can be distinguished by their small crest, and the Great Comoro drongos are larger with brownish wings and tails The Mayottedrongo of Mayotte Island is also larger withal ma ore deeply forked tail.
See more: Bowerbirds