Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) Hei juanwei

Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) Hei juanwei
(30 cm.) Glossy blue-black; very long, deeply-forked tail

The Black Drongo is a strange looking bird which is a member of the bird tribe, “Dicrurini”, the drongos. This tribe which was once considered a family includes seven species which can be found in China. The Black Drongo is also known as “King Crow”, although not a member of the crow family.

The Black Drongo is one of the most instantly recognizable birds in China due to its all black plumage and deeply forked tail. No other bird in China is all black with a deeply forked tail. Another drongo species, the Crow-billed Drongo is uniformly black only a slight fork in its tail. The distinctive silhouette of the Black Drongo can often be seen as the bird perches on telephone wire on roadsides.

The Black Drongo is an aggressive bird which frequently attacks larger birds such as crows and birds of prey which have the audacity to invade its territory.

The range of this species includes all of India and southeast Asia. In China, it is found in summer throughout most of the eastern and central part of the country. It is a year long resident in Hainan and Taiwan.

Black Drongos are active very early in the morning in the search of their favorite food, insects. They eat many large insects such as grasshoppers, cicadas, wasps, bees, dragonflies, and beetles. They perch and wait for flying insects in the manner of a flycatcher, and actively chase insects on the wing. At other times the will feed on the ground. In addition to insects, this bird will eat reptiles, other birds and even bats.

Both male and female Black Drongos sing in spring to attract a mate and establish territories. A cup-shaped nest made of thin sticks is placed in the fork of tree, and the female lays typically three eggs. Due to the ferocious nature of the Black Drongo, many other bird species such as orioles, doves, and especially, bulbuls choose to nest close to the nests of the Black Drongo for the added protection

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