Physical Characteristics

Drongos are small to medium sized, crow-like birds, usually very dark gray to black all over, a few species being light gray. Black plumage (feathers) shimmers with iridescent green, deep blue, or purple, or the plumage may show spangles, or colored, iridescent spots. The eyes are vivid red or orange, usually a giveaway that the bird is a drongo and not some unrelated black bird. The tail is typically long, often forked, with a complex, ornate shape. The head in most species bears some sort of crest. Body length in drongos ranges from 7 to 15 inches (18 to 38 centimeters) among species.

The beak resembles that of jays, being robust, hooked, notched behind the hooked end, and black in most species. There are long bristles, or retrices (REH-truh-suhz), around the base of the beak. The wings are long and rounded or pointed. The legs, black in most species, are short, with strong feet and toes. Males are slightly larger than females, but both sexes are identical, or show slight variation, in coloration.

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