Towards the end of our Parambikulam tramway trek, as I dragged my weary feet past a tree on which was perched a dark bird with a telltale fork at the end of of its tail, Beej stopped and whispered, “What is it?”
“Drongo,” I muttered dismissively, and walked on.
And so, in order to ensure that no birder steps past a Drongo-Cuckoo again, here are some notes from the field:
|Note that the black bird on the left shares a profile similar to the bird on the extreme right – each has an “unkempt” tuft of hair above its brow. Both are cuckoos. The bird in the centre, also with a forked tail, is a drongo. In this case, it’s a Black Drongo – the white rictal spot is diagnostic.|
1) Head: This bird’s head was of an odd shape – with a ruffled, unkempt tuft reminiscent of the Common Hawk Cuckoo or Brainfever Bird, to which it is related.
|Two forked tails, and each tells a different story. The barring on the Drongo-Cuckoo’s tail sets it apart, while the Drongo has an unmarked fork, though the depth and definition of the fork can vary with the species|
And once you are identify a Drongo-Cuckoo correctly, you will never mistake it for a drongo again!
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