17 Nov 2012   in Feeding-invertebrates, Interspecific 1 Comment »
Contributed by Dr. Leong Tzi Ming

“While exploring the countryside in Thailand in October 2012, the Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) was frequently encountered (above).

“One afternoon, while admiring a herd of grazing cows at close range, I was delighted to witness a handful of Black Drongos keeping a watchful eye over the cattle movement as they bulldozed through the long grass. Some would be perched on the low branches of trees (above).

“Others would perch upon shrubs next to the cows (above).

“These hungry Black Drongos appeared to display a heightened level of alertness, as they kept their eyes peeled for any hint of movement from a grasshopper or cricket that may be displaced by the advancing wave of grazing cows (above).

“Not only did the Black Drongos seem to be more alert during this foraging frenzy, they also appeared to be more aggressive, as regular squabbles were observed as they bickered over choice perches that would guarantee close proximity and quick access to insect prey. While this association with domestic cattle has previously been reported for Black Drongos (Lekagul & Round, 1991), nothing compares to being a front row spectator to all this action! I also wonder if the Black Drongos have been known to have similar associations with other cattle (semi-domesticated or wild), such as Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), Banteng (Bos javanicus) or Gaur (Bos frontalis)?

“Nearby to where I witnessed the Black Drongos feeding amongst the cattle, other species of Drongos were sighted as well, but they never ventured anywhere near the herd. These include the Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus leucogenis) (above) and the Hair-crested Drongo (Dicrurus hottentottus) (below).”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
8th Nove,ber 2012

Lekagul, B. & P. D. Round, 1991. A Guide to the Birds of Thailand. Saha Karn Bhaet Co., Ltd., Bangkok. 457 pp.

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    1. Lim Sheau Torng says:

      These Black Drongos are ubiquitous in Northeastern India where I visited recently. Spectacular and accurate aerial hunters. An agressive bird, I saw it chased after the House Crow which is 2-3 times bigger in more than 5 occasions during my short visit. Ironically, crows are normally the agressor in Singapore.

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