The Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) is a common resident in tropical southern Asia. Commonly seen solitarily in open deciduous forest and in cultivated countryside; breeds in March to July. Drongo is a bold and pugnacious bird known for its aggressive behaviour towards larger birds like crows and owls; fearlessly drive away raptors such as eagles and kites. This behaviour earns it the informal name ‘King Crow’. They feed mainly on insects such as grasshoppers, cicadas, termites, wasps, bees, ants, moths, beetles and dragonflies.

Drongos are found perching over the back of grazing cattle and wild herbivores; catch the insects disturbed by the animals. They help in snatching Mites and Flies from large bodied mammals. Drongo’s habit of preying on a variety of insect pests made them economically important in agriculture. Their habit of preying on bees makes them a nuisance to bee-keepers, but farmers attract them to their fields using artificial perches in fields to encourage them to feed on pest insects. These birds prey on for long time in to the dusk and also one of the early risers in dawn.

The Black Drongo

Tamil names: Karichan kuruvi, Karuvattu vaali, Rettai vaal kuruvi.

Written and photographed by Vinoth Balasubramanian, Junior Research Fellow at Care Earth Trust.