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Birds Guide


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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Dicruridae
Subfamily: Dicrurinae
  • Chaetorhynchus
  • Dicrurus

The drongos are a subfamily of small passerine birds of the Old World tropics. They were previously classed as the family Dicruridae, but that has been much enlarged to include a number of largely Australasian groups, such as the Australasian fantails, monarchs and paradise flycatchers.

These insect-eating birds are found in usually open forests or bush. Most are black or dark grey in colour, sometimes with metallic tints. They have long forked tails, and some Asian species have elaborate tail decorations. They have short legs and sit very upright whilst perched, like a shrike. They flycatch or take prey from the ground.

Two to four eggs are laid in a nest high in a tree. These are aggressive and fearless birds, given their small size, and drongos will attack much larger species if their nest or young are threatened.

Species of Dicruriniae

  • Papuan Drongo, Chaetorhynchus papuensis, (Lower risk (lc))
    Square-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus ludwigii
    Shining Drongo, Dicrurus atripennis, (Lower risk (lc))
    Fork-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus adsimilis
    Príncipe Drongo, Dicrurus modestus (Lower risk (nt))
    Aldabra Drongo, Dicrurus aldabranus, (Lower risk (nt))
    Comoro Drongo, Dicrurus fuscipennis, (Endangered)
    Crested Drongo, Dicrurus forficatus, (Lower risk (lc))
    Mayotte Drongo, Dicrurus waldenii, (Endangered)
    Black Drongo, Dicrurus macrocercus
    Ashy Drongo, Dicrurus leucophaeus
    White-bellied Drongo, Dicrurus caerulescens
    Crow-billed Drongo, Dicrurus annectans, (Lower risk (lc))
    Bronzed Drongo, Dicrurus aeneus
    Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus remifer, (Lower risk (lc))
    Hair-crested Drongo, Dicrurus hottentottus, (Lower risk (lc))
    Balicassiao, Dicrurus balicassius, (Lower risk (lc))
    Sulawesi Drongo, Dicrurus montanus, (Lower risk (lc))
    Sumatran Drongo, Dicrurus sumatranus, (Lower risk (nt))
    Wallacean Drongo, Dicrurus densus, (Lower risk (lc))
    Ribbon-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus megarhynchus, (Lower risk (lc))
    Spangled Drongo, Dicrurus bracteatus, (Lower risk (lc))
    Andaman Drongo, Dicrurus andamanensis, (Lower risk (lc))
    Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus paradiseus


In Australian slang, the word drongo is a synonym for a total loser or idiot. Like most Australian slang the meaning of the word changes with the way it's said.

In the Bush Dance sometimes called the drongo the person who misses out on a partner (musical chairs style} becomes 'the drongo' for the next time through the dance and is the butt of a gentle humorous use of the word - spill hot soup in a customer's lap and you may hear a distinctly vitriolic use!

The Drongo was a racehorse probably named after the bird. It raced in the 1920's and was deemed unlucky never to have come better than second in thirty-seven starts. The term was used in the RAAF during World War 2 to describe raw recruits.

External links

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| Drongos
| Monarchinae
| Rhipidurinae
| Tersiphone

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