Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo

Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo

Dicrurus paradiseus
Population size
70-125 g
31-36 cm

Greater racket-tailed drongos are medium-sized Asian birds with elongated outer tail feathers with webbing restricted to the tips. The tail with twirled rackets is distinctive and in flight, it can appear as if two large bees were chasing a black bird. These birds also have the crest of curled feathers that begin in front of the face above the beak and along the crown to varying extents according to the subspecies. Young individuals are duller and can lack a crest while molting birds can lack the elongate tail streamers.


The distribution range of Greater racket-tailed drongos extends from the western Himalayas to the eastern Himalayas and Mishmi Hills. They are found in the hills of peninsular India and the Western Ghats. Continuing into the west to the islands of Borneo and Java in the east through the mainland and islands. These birds don't migrate and live in forested areas, mangroves, and plantations.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Greater racket-tailed drongos are diurnal but are active well before dawn and late at dusk. They are aggressive and will sometimes mob larger birds especially when nesting. They are usually seen alone or in pairs but often feed in flocks. Greater racket-tailed drongos are conspicuous in the forest habitats often perching in the open and by attracting attention with a wide range of loud calls that include perfect imitations of many other birds. Their calls are extremely varied and include monotonously repeated whistles, metallic and nasal sounds as well as more complex notes. They begin calling from as early as 4 am in moonlight often with a metallic 'tunk-tunk-tunk' series. These drongos have an ability to accurately mimic alarm calls of other birds that are learnt through interactions in mixed-species flocks. They may even imitate raptor calls so as to alarm other birds and steal prey from them in the ensuing panic. They are also known to imitate the calls of species that typically are members of mixed-species flocks such as babblers and it has been suggested that this has a role in the formation of mixed-species flocks.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Greater racket-tailed drongos are carnivores (insectivores) and feed mainly on insects. They also consume fruit and visit flowering trees for nectar.

Mating Habits

April-August in India
15-17 days
4-6 weeks
3-4 eggs

Greater racket-tailed drongos are monogamous and form pairs. In India, they typically breed from April to August. Their courtship display may involve hops and turns on branches with play behavior involving dropping an object and picking it in mid-air. Their cup nest is built in the fork of a tree, often a smooth-bold tree with an isolated canopy, The nesting pair may even remove bits of bark on the trunk to make it smooth. The usual clutch is 3 to 4 eggs. The eggs are creamy-white with blotches of reddish brown which are more dense at the broad end. The eggs are incubated by both parents for about 15-17 days. The chicks hatch helpless and fledge 17-28 days later. They become independent at the age of 4-6 weeks.


Population threats

There are no known threats to this species at present.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Greater racket-tailed drongo total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.

Ecological niche

Within their ecosystem, Greater racket-tailed drongos are important predators of insects and also act as pollinators because they feed on nectar.


1. Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo on Wikipedia -
2. Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo on The IUCN Red List site -

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