drongo

drongo (drŏngˈgō) [key], any of the insect-eating Old World birds of the family Dicruridae. Most species have black plumage with an iridescent purple or green shimmer and long, deeply forked tails. They have long pointed wings and stout, hooked bills ornamented with long bristles about the mouth. Most have ornamental crests or head plumes. Drongos range in body length from 7 to 15 in. (18–38 cm); the tail in some species is as long as 28 in. (71 cm). Solitary, arboreal birds of forests, wooded savannas, and fields, drongos are most numerous in S Asia, but also occur in S Africa and NE Australia. Typical of the family is the king crow, Dicrurus macrocerus, found from India to Java and Taiwan. Drongos are powerful, aggressive birds and will drive off birds much larger than themselves, incidentally providing protection to more docile species that nest in the same trees. Members of some species follow cattle in order to feed on the associated insects. There are about 20 drongo species, classified in two genera, Dicrurus and Chaetorhynchus, of the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Dicruridae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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