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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

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References and further reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone's Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 64

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

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

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

Geoff Lockwood's Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Year Published: - Page: 82

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

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

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

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

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 411

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 213

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

List of South African Birds

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