Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus ranges through much of the Indian subcontinent through Southeast Asia to the Greater Sundas. In China, grandis is resident in western and southern Yunnan, and johni is endemic to and resident on Hainan. Lives in forests in lowlands and hills, generally lower than lesser racket-tailed drongo, to 1500 m. Often in flocks with other insectivores (including lesser racket-tailed drongo), which it learns to mimic. Has amazing elongated outer tail feathers with racket-like pendants at the end; the feathers extend up to 40 cm beyond end of notched tail, but may be damaged or missing. Also has distinctive crest of curled feathers emerging from base of upper mandible and forehead. Extended tail feathers distinguish this drongo from all others except lesser racket-tailed; larger crest and notched tail separate it 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. Bill, feet black; eyes reddish-brown (but often appear black). Extremely varied mix of calls, from electronic whistles to harsh screeching. Much mimicry. — Craig Brelsford


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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