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Drongo
File:Spangled Drongo.png
Spangled Drongo
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Infraorder: Corvida
Superfamily: Corvoidea
Family: Dicruridae
Vigors, 1825
Genera

The drongos are a family of small passerine birds of the Old World tropics, the Dicruridae. This family was sometimes[clarification needed] much enlarged to include a number of largely Australasian groups, such as the Australasian fantails, monarchs and paradise flycatchers. The name is originally from the indigenous language of Madagascar, where it refers to local species, but is now used to refer to all members of the family.[1] The family is usually treated as having two genera, Chaetorhynchus and Dicrurus. The genus Chaetorhynchus contains a single species, the New Guinea endemic Pygmy Drongo. The placement of this species in the family is highly dubious due to both morphological and genetic differences, and it has recently been placed, along with the closely related Silktail of Fiji, with the fantails (Rhipiduridae).[2] The remaining genus contains the remaining 25 species of drongo.

The family Dicruridae are believed to be most likely of Indo Malayan origin with a colonization of Africa about 15 million years ago. Dispersal across the Wallace Line into Australasia is estimated to have been more recent, around 6 mya.[3]

These insectivorous 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. Racket-tailed Drongos are the mimicry artists among birds. They can mimic the sound of other birds and some animals. They flycatch or take prey from the ground.

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

The word drongo is used in Australia as a mild form of insult tantamount to the term "idiot", which may refer to the seemingly madcap attacks these birds are prone to launch.

Species of Dicruridae in taxonomic order

 
Dicruridae

aeneus


 
 
 

paradiseus



annectans



 
 

megarhynchus



bracteatus



 

hottentotus



balicassius






remifer



 
 
 

waldenii


 

aldabranus



forficatus




 
 
 

adsimilis



macrocercus




modestus



 

fuscipennis




 

leucophaeus




 

atripennis



ludwigii





A phylogenetic overview of the family.[3]


File:Andaman Drongo.png

References

  1. ^ Lindsey, Terence (1991). Forshaw, Joseph, ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 223–224. ISBN 1-85391-186-0. 
  2. ^ Irested, Martin; Fuchs J; Jønsson KA; Ohlson JI; Pasquet E & Per G.P. Ericson (2009). "The systematic affinity of the enigmatic Lamprolia victoriae (Aves: Passeriformes)—An example of avian dispersal between New Guinea and Fiji over Miocene intermittent land bridges?" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 48 (3): 1218–1222. PMID 18620871. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.05.038.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  3. ^ a b Eric Pasquet, Jean-Marc Pons, Jerome Fuchs, Corinne Cruaud, Vincent Bretagnolle (2007) Evolutionary history and biogeography of the drongos (Dicruridae), a tropical Old World clade of corvoid passerines. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 45:158–167

Other sources

Wannan, Bill (1970). Australian Folklore. Lansdowne Press. ISBN 0-7018-1309-1. .

External links


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