The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Fork-tailed Drongo

Afrikaans name: Mikstertbyvanger

Fork-tailed Drongo showing the distinctive tail shape that gives it its common name

Photo © Steven Herbert

Dicrurus adsimilis

The Fork-tailed Drongo is a well-known bird. It is known by a variety of names in other countries including African Drongo and Common Drongo.

There are two similar birds found in South Africa, the Black Flycatcher and Black Cuckooshrike, but the deeply forked tail identifies this one.

Males are more glossy than females but this isn't always easy to see. They make their nest in the fork of a tree - normally high up. Up to 4 eggs are laid.

Fork-tailed Drongos feed on insects. They perch on an exposed branch and watch for signs of movement. They can commonly be seen accompanying some species of game such as Rhinos. The Rhino disturbs the insects which are then caught by the Drongo.

These birds can be quite aggressive towards predators particularly birds of prey.

Fork-tailed Drongo at Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 172

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 288

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 302

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 49

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 179

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1979 - Page: 32

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 213

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 55

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 474

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 468

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 364

Geoff Lockwoods Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Published: 0 - Page: 82

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 212

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 352

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 274

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 27

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 296

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 296

More Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: P. Ginn & G. McIlleron - Published: 1981 - Page: 43

Meeting with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1986 - Page: 78

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 411

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 211

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 52

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 52

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 101

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 193

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 156

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 70

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 86

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 178

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 56

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 64

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 148

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Published: 2004 - Page: 183

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 88

BirdLife South Africa


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