Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Dicruridae
Genus: Dicrurus
Species: D. paradiseus

The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus paradiseus, is a medium-sized Asian bird. The drongos are passerines restricted to the Old World tropics. These are aggressive and fearless birds, 32 cm in length, and will attack much larger species if their nest or young are threatened. This aggressive drongo is often found in mixed feeding flocks typical of Asian jungle habitats.

The adult Greater Racket-tailed Drongo has spangled metallic green-blue plumage, and a large bill. The tail is long and shallowly forked, with the shafts of the two outermost feathers greatly extended and ending in the rackets which give this species its name. There is a head crest, prominent in the Indian race, D. p. grandis, but much reduced in some other subspecies. The young bird is duller and uncrested.

The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo has short legs and sits very upright whilst perched prominently, like a shrike. It is insectivorous. The species is well-known as a very accurate vocal mimic. This is quite unusual, as avian vocal mimicry has hitherto been believed to be ignorant of the original context of the imitated vocalization.

The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from Kashmir, India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia. This species is usually found in broadleaved forest. Three or four eggs are laid in a cup nest in a tree.

Singapore Botanic Garden
February 2009

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