Dicrurus paradiseus

Physical characteristics: The body length is 13 inches (33 centimeters). The plumage is black all over with iridescent shades of blue on the upper wings. The head bears a crest of feathers that begins at the upper base of the beak. The eyes are bright red. The bill is gray. The tail is as long as the body, forked into two narrow, almost wirelike feathers, each of which flares into a rounded shape at the tip, thus the "racket-tail."

Geographic range: Greater racket-tailed drongos live in all of India, Sri Lanka, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, into Southeast Asia, including southwestern China, Hainan Island, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo.

Habitat: These drongos are found in tropical rainforest.

Diet: These birds eat insects, including moths, termites and dragonflies. Also lizards, small birds and nectar.

Behavior and reproduction: There is limited information. The species forms monogamous pairs, female and male sharing in incubating the clutch of up to three eggs, and feeding the young. The parents savagely defend the nest and young. The nest is cup-shaped and built in at the fork of a tree branch.

Greater racket-tailed drongos and people:

There is no significant interaction between greater racket-tailed drongos and people.

Conservation status: These birds are not threatened. ■

FOR MORE INFORMATION Books:

Goodman, Steven M., and Jonathan P. Benstead.

The Natural History of Madagascar. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,

2003.

Kavanagh, James. African Birds. Chandler, AZ: Waterford Press, 2001.

Morris, P., and F. Hawkins. Birds of Madagascar: A Photographic Guide. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.

Pizzey, G., and F. Knight. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Sydney, Australia: Angus and Robertson, 1997.

Strange, Morten. Birds of Southeast Asia: A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. London: New Holland, 1998.

Strange, Morten. A Photographic Guide to Birds of Malaysia and Singapore: Including Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Borneo. Singapore: Periplus, 2000.

Periodicals:

Duckworth, J. W. "Mobbing of a Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris." Ibis 139, no. 1 (1997): 190-192.

Herremans, M., and T. D. Herremans. "Social Foraging of the Forktailed

Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis: Beater Effect of Kleptoparasitism?" Bird Behavior 12, nos. 1-2 (1997): 41-45.

Khacher, L. "Mimicry by Grey Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus." Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 94, no. 3 (1997): 569.

Manson, A. J. "Unusual Behaviour of Square-tailed Drongo." Honeyguide 114/115, no. 54 (1983).

Nair, M. V. "An Instance of Play Behaviour in Black Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis (Bechstein)." Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 92, no. 2 (1995): 266.

Vernon, C. J. "Vocal Imitation by Southern African Birds." Ostrich 44, no. 1 (1973): 23-30

Web sites:

"MAGPIE-LARKS Grallinidae." [email protected] Bay. http://www. montereybay.com/creagrus/magpie-larks.html (accessed on July 20, 2004).

NEW ZEALAND WATTLEBIRDS Callaeidae

Class: Aves Order: Passeriformes Family: Callaeidae Number of species: 2 species

CHAPTER

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The New Zealand wattlebirds' common name is based on their "wattles," little, drooping flaps of brightly colored skin that decorate their faces just behind the beaks, in pairs, on either side of the throat. Plumage (feathers) in adult wattlebirds is medium blue-gray in the kokako and near-black with red-brown areas in the saddleback. Both sexes within a species have similar colorings, and all species have brightly colored wattles. The wings are short and rounded, and all species are poor flyers, able only to glide downward from a perch, although all can run, hop and jump along the ground or tree branches and all are good tree climbers. Adult length in both sexes, from beak tip to tail tip, runs 10 to 19 inches (25 to 48 centimeters). Weight is 2.5 to 10 ounces (70 to 380 grams).

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Wattlebirds live on both main islands (North and South Islands) of New Zealand and many offshore islands. Wattlebirds are New Zealand endemics, meaning that they are found only there and nowhere else in the world.

HABITAT

Wattlebirds inhabit native temperate forests of New Zealand, which are made up of a mix of hardwoods and podocarps (Southern Hemisphere conifers).

DIET

Wattlebirds eat mostly insects, including insect larvae (LARvee), wetas (giant New Zealand crickets), fruits of native trees, phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family fern fronds, and leaves. On Cuvier Island, a small bird, the fantail, has taken to following foraging saddlebacks, snagging various flying insects escaping from the disturbances made by the saddlebacks. Since the saddlebacks eat noisily while producing a small rain of shredded bark and leaves, and occasionally call out during feeding, they are easy to find.

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