Black Drongo

Black Drongo Frontal View
Black Drongo Frontal View

In the last blog I had talked on the Drongo I was chasing. So here are the photos of that photo session where I was chasing these group of Black Drongo’s for a nice pose ;-). It was cloudy, windy and rainy evening. The weather was nice for photography, but light was insufficient.

Cloud was causing variation in light. Trying to capture near black subject against white background was a challenge. I took my meter reading from a single point metering from the body of the Drongo. As we all know camera meters are stupid and they try to adjust the meter to expose to 18% grey. So my black bird would come as 18% grey(means over exposed). To compensate for that I had to under expose by 1.5 stops to get accurate exposure. Other option is to look for some thing which is neutral like green grass which when you convert to grey scale is close to 18% grey and take reading from there. There is also a possibility of sky getting blown out due to higher brightness. Fortunately cloud helped me here to soften that effect. Therefore when you see somebody dismissing a cloudy, overcast day as bad time for photography, you can instantly judge their level of understanding of lighting and photography ;-).

Black Drongo on a Street Light fixture
Black Drongo on a Street Light fixture

Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) is a very common breeding resident bird, found in open areas, wetlands and near cultivation. This is a glossy black bird with a long deeply forked tail. They are usually found in open forests and similar lightly wooded habitats from southwest Iran through India and Sri Lanka east to southern China and Indonesia.

These are aggressive and fearless birds, 28 cm in length, and will attack much larger species if their nest or young are threatened. There are also some cases of Drongos preying on small birds. They have also been on occasion seen feeding on dead fish.

Squabbling Black Drongos
Squabbling Black Drongos

The Black Drongo has short legs and sits very upright whilst perched prominently, like a shrike. The adult Black Drongo is mainly glossy blue-black, although the wings are duller. The tail is long and deeply forked, and there is a white spot in front of the eye. Young birds are dull dark brown.

It lays three or four eggs are laid in a light cup nest placed in a fork often on the bare outer branches of trees.

It eats insects and other small animals. It will attack much larger species if their nest or young are threatened. There are also some cases of Drongos preying on small birds. They have also been on occasion seen feeding on dead fish.

Black Drongo on a Street Light fixture
Black Drongo on a Street Light fixture

The Black Drongo has been introduced to some Pacific islands, where it has thrived and become abundant to the point of threatening and causing the extinction of native and endemic bird species there.

It is said that they imitate the call of the Shikra so as to put mynas to flight and then to steal prey. Similar behavior, using false alarm calls, has been noted in the Fork-tailed Drongo. There are some cases of the Black Drongo preying on small birds, reptiles, or maybe even bats.

Black Drongo Dorsal View
Black Drongo Dorsal View

Being common, they have a wide range of local names. The older genus name of Buchanga was derived from the Hindi name of Bhujanga. Other local names include Thampal in Pakistan, Gohalo/Kolaho in Baluchistan, Kalkalachi in Sindhi, Kotwal (=policeman) in Hindi; Finga in Bengali; Phenchu in Assamese: Phenchu; Cheiroi in Manipuri; Kosita/ Kalo koshi in Gujarati; Ghosia in Marathi; Kajalapati in Oriya; Kari kuruvi (=charcoal bird), Erettai valan (=two tail) in Tamil; Passala poli gadu in Telugu; Kaaka tampuratti (=queen of crows) in Malayalam; Kari bhujanga in Kannada and Kauda in Sinhalese.

A superstition in central India is that cattle would lose their horn if a newly fledged bird alighted on it. It is held in reverence in parts of Punjab in the belief that it brought water to Husain ibn Ali, an Islamic prophet.

EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/4 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 13 June, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 400 | Location : 12° 55′ 20.02656″ N 74° 51′ 55.209240040174″ E | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/4 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 13 June, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 400 | Location : 12° 55′ 20.02656″ N 74° 51′ 55.209240040174″ E | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/4 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 13 June, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 400 | Location : 12° 55′ 20.02656″ N 74° 51′ 55.209240040174″ E | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/4 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 13 June, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 400 | Location : 12° 55′ 20.02656″ N 74° 51′ 55.209240040174″ E | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/4 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 13 June, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 400 | Location : 12° 55′ 20.02656″ N 74° 51′ 55.209240040174″ E | Shutter speed : 1/640s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.

6 thoughts on “Black Drongo

  1. Superbly timed 3rd shot doc, I think final pic needs a little more contrast.

    I ‘ve seen drongos with two very long crisscrossed tail feathers are they an subspecies or is it a seasonal change ?

  2. Mohith,
    I have reworked on the last Photo and uploaded, yes the contrast was bit less as well as brightness. Once I modified the Brightness and contrast values the picture started popping again. Thanks for suggestion.

    The Drongo you are mentioning is Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, (Dicrurus paradiseus). It is from the same family Dicruridae.

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