Scientific Name :Dicrurus macrocercus
Tamil Name: Rettai vall kuruvi
Description: This is a slim glossy black bird with a long deeply forked tail. Sexes are alike.
Distribution and status: It is a common resident breeder in much of tropical southern Asia from southwest Iran through India and Sri Lanka east to southern China and Indonesia. It is a wholly black bird with a distinctive forked tail.
Habitat: It is common in open agricultural areas and light forest throughout its range, perching conspicuously on a bare perch or along power or telephone lines Occurs singly in open countryside and above cultivation. It is distributed throughout the subcontinent.
Habits: It has a vantage point from a telegraph pole or from the back of cattle to catch insects that are disturbed by the cattle. Several drongos collectively catch insects from the backs of grazing cattle. Forest fires invariably disturb a large number of insects which are eaten by several individual drongos. It has the habit of driving away other birds from its nest hence protecting small birds.
Food: From exposed lookouts it keeps an eye for grasshoppers and other insects. Also small birds are taken.
Life cycle: Nesting season is principally from April to August. The nest is a flimsy bottomed cup of fine twigs and fibers cemented with cob webs. Eggs are 3-5 in number mostly whitish with brownish red spots. Both sexes share parental duties and guard the nest.
Role in the environment: As it is a defender of its nest other birds seek shelter under it . It is a common inhabitant of the Indian countryside.
Photo source: Dr. J. Patrik David