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Spangled Drongo
Dicrurus bracteatus

Passeriforme Order – Dricruridae Family

Length: 28-32 cm
Weight: 80 g

Spangled Drongo is the only drongo living in Australia.

Fr: Drongo pailleté
All :  Glanzspitzendrongo
Esp : Drongo de Lentejuelas
Ital :  Drongo ornato
Nd : Glansvlekdrongo

Photographs by Patrick Ingremeau

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


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Adult male has black glossy plumage, with metallic blue-green iridescent “spangles”. Small white spots are visible on breast and upper wings. Long black tail is out curved and forked. Undertail coverts have whitish edges.

Head is black. Black bill is heavy, with base bordered with black bristles. Eyes are red. Legs and feet are blackish.

Both sexes are similar, with male slightly larger than female.

Juvenile has sooty-black plumage and lacks spangles. Its eyes are brown.

Spangled Drongo utters some metallic notes, and it performs sometimes mimicry of other species. It is a noisy bird, uttering whistles and grating sounds.

Spangled Drongo lives mainly in wet forests, mangroves and urban parks. This species usually avoids too dense forests.

Spangled Drongo is found in Eastern and Northern Australia, but also in New Guinea and Eastern Indonesia.

Spangled Drongo feeds mainly on insects caught in the air. It perches on exposed place, waiting for insects. Then, it pursues its prey in an acrobatic flight, and catches it with the bill. It returns to its perch for eating the prey. The long bristles surrounding the base of the bill guides items into the mouth.

Spangled Drongo also forages in foliage or searches for food under the bark. They can gather in flocks for hawking flying insects.

Spangled Drongo is migratory and performs seasonal movements. Birds from northern parts of the range migrate northwards to Indonesia. Birds of southern parts travel to New Guinea. Some birds on central-east and south-east remain in their area, or occasionally, they migrate to Tasmania.

Spangled Drongo pairs strongly defend the nest-site against intruders and predators. This species can be aggressive, and often kills smaller birds.

Spangled Drongo is usually seen alone or in pairs, but they often migrate in flocks. It often flicks its tail when perched.

Spangled Drongo performs acrobatic flights, swooping and twisting after flying insects. It has swift and erratic flight outside hunting.

Breeding season occurs from October to January.
Spangled Drongo’s nest is found in horizontal fork in tree, at about 10 to 20 metres from the ground. Both adults build the nest. It is a shallow cup made with twigs, grasses and vine tendrils. Materials are held with spider webs. Nest hangs in slender fork, hidden in dense vegetation.

Female lays 3 to 5 eggs. Incubation is shared by both parents, and they brood and feed the young.
This species produces only one brood per season.

Spangled Drongo feeds on insects taken in flight or from foliage and bark. It also consumes fruit and nectar.


Spangled Drongo is common and widespread in its range.