Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus grandis, Skytree Nature Reserve (21.627267, 101.588062), Yunnan, China, elev. 720 m (2,360 ft.), February. (Craig Brelsford)
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo D. p. johni, Jianfengling Nature Reserve (18.744412, 108.843012), Hainan, China, elev. 980 m (3,220 ft.), January. Race johni is endemic to Hainan. (Craig Brelsford)
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo D. p. johni eyes Greater Yellownape Chrysophlegma flavinucha styani, Jianfengling Nature Reserve (18.744410, 108.843008), Hainan, elev. 980 m (3,220 ft.), January. (Craig Brelsford)

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus ranges through much of Indian subcontinent through Southeast Asia to Greater Sundas. In China, grandis resident western and southern Yunnan, and johni endemic to Hainan. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Forests in lowlands and hills, generally lower than Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo D. remifer, to 1500 m (4,920 ft.). Often in flocks with other insectivores (including Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo), which it learns to mimic. ID & COMPARISON Has amazing elongated outer tail feathers with racket-like pendants. Feathers extend beyond end of notched tail up to 40 cm (16 in.) but may be damaged or missing. Has distinctive crest of curled feathers emerging from base of upper mandible and forehead. Extended tail feathers distinguish from all drongos except Lesser Racket-tailed; larger crest and notched tail separate from Lesser. Plumage black with metallic blue or greenish-blue gloss. Has large black face mask, belly, and vent and blue spangles on upper breast, crown, nape, and neck. Juvenile duller, with shorter crest and no rackets. BARE PARTS Bill, feet black; eyes dark reddish-brown. VOICE Extremely varied mix of calls, from electronic whistles to harsh screeching. Much mimicry. — Craig Brelsford

THE DRONGOS OF CHINA covers every species in China of the monogeneric family Dicruridae. Click any link:

Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo D. remifer
Crow-billed Drongo D. annectens
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo D. paradiseus
Hair-crested Drongo D. hottentottus
Ashy Drongo D. leucophaeus
Black Drongo D. macrocercus


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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