Name: there are two species of racket-tailed drongo – the greater (Dicrurus paradiseus) and the lesser racket tail (Dicrurus remifer). They are both part of the drongo family – a group of 29 species known for their elaborate tail feathers.
Appearance: racket-tails are easily identified by their distinctively long tails ending in a pair of rackets. When they are flying it can look like they are being chased by two large bees. The greater and lesser racket-tails are difficult to tell apart although the lesser has flatter rackets and a much smaller crest on its head.
Size: the greater is one of the largest drongo species while the lesser is somewhat smaller – reaching around 25 cm long with a tail of up to 40 cm.
Diet: like other drongos, racket-tails mainly feed on insects but also eat fruit and nectar.
Did you know: racket-tails are easily heard in the forests they inhabit thanks to their loud calls. They also have the ability to perfectly mimic a range of other bird species. This is a rare skill and similar to humans learning phrases in a number of foreign languages. One theory for why they do this is to attract different species to join together in a single flock to help improve foraging and to provide opportunities to steal food from other birds.
Location: they can be found in subtropical and tropical forests throughout India and South East Asia.
Where TO SEE Racket-Tailed Drongos
According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see racket-tailed drongos in the following places:
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Photo credit: Nimesh Madhavan under a Creative Commons license from Flickr