Distribution

• small, etrct rrrsl typical upright posture

Family fllCRl I

Species iy,crurus parodist

Length 25 in tm)

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

I his targe drongo can be reeogni/.ed by its two long tail feathers. Kach of these is composed of a long, wirelike shaft with a broad vane, known as a racket, at its tip. In flight, the rackets ripple and bounce as they trail behind the bird. Another recognition feature is the loose, backward-drooping crest on the crown of the head. The species is common in rain forest and bamboo jungle and feeds almost exclusively on insects, caught on the wing or picked from twigs and foliage. It can use its versatile feet to clamp a large insect to the perch, or to grasp and raise the prey to its bill. Greater Racket-tailed Drongos hunt by flying out repeatedly from the same perch, or by moving from tree to tree, either alone or in small parties. Such parties often associate with birds of other species, to form large hunting flocks. These flocks flush insects out of the vegetation as they pass, making them easy to catch. I the Greater Racket-tail is boldly aggressive towards predators. It utters metallic calls, as well as a song that includes musical, whistling sounds and skillful mimicry of other birds.

• NEST A deep, loose cup nest made of fine twigs, bark strips, grass stems, and spiderwebs, bound by its outer rim to a horizontally forked twig, and situated high in a tree.

• DISTRIBUTION Much of India and through the Himalayan region to S. China, and south as far as Borneo, Java, and Bali.

• REMARK This bird is the largest species of drongo, not only on account of tail length but in overall body size too.

• long-shafted outer tail feathers rackets are a/ways > twisted

Plumage Scxcs .,|ikc

Habitat fpf

Migration Non-migrant

Fam,l>' Callakatidak

Species c.readton canrnculatus

Saddleback

Identified by its fleshy wattles, this forest bird lives mainly in the trees, probing bark for insects and taking fruit and nectar. It makes only brief flights. Pairs remain together.

• NliST A cup nest in a tree hole or dense foliage.

• DISTRIBUTION New Zealand; once widespread, now only on a few-small islands.

Sot i n Island Jl'vknilk

Species c.readton canrnculatus

Species Strutiidea cinerea

Family GRAI.UNIDAE

Species OrtlMmi cyanoleuca

Plumage Scxcs difTcr

Habitat ftf jJ-

Migration Non-migrant

Family CORCORACIDAK

Species Strutiidea cinerea

Magpie-Lark

Although common on farmland and even in towns, the Magpie-Lark is essentially a bird of pond and lake margins, whieh it visits to collcct mud lor its nest and to long, look for food. It walks and paddles on long legs, its body and tail well raised, broad searching the ground and the shallow water for insects, water snails, and other • wings small invertebrates. When it takes to the air, it flies strongly and directly, steadily flapping its large, rounded wings. After mating, pairs often remain together.

They advertise their strong legs for possession of a territory with a mutual display in which each bird calls in turn while standing erect and raising its wings high.

• NEST A mud bowl Femai.B lined with fine grasses and sometimes feathers, built on a horizontal branch in a tree.

• Distribution Australia, and part ofS. New Guinea.

walking and wading

DISTRIlit HON

Apostlebird

A ground-dwelling bird with a long tail, the Apostlebird has a busy, fussing manner and harsh, chattering calls. It docs not fly strongly and feeds mainly on the ground, walking, running, and short hopping in search of insects and other invertebrates, and also taking small seeds. The name of this bird is a biblical reference to the 1Z apostles, since the birds often live in sociable family groups consisting of this number of birds, foraging as a group, they preen each other and huddle together to rest and roost in trees. They also cooperate to build the nest, incubate the clutch, and feed the young. Usually there is only one breeding female in the group, but sometimes two or more will lay their eggs in the same nest. • NEST A mud bowl reinforced with grass and lined with finer grasses, on a horizontal branch up to 49 ft (15 m) above the ground.

•Distribution

N. and E. Australia. distribution desert areas.

bill with u hooked lip

> shod legs for perching

Black-faced woodswallow

Despite its stout, heavy-headed appearance, the

Black-faced Woodswallow is very agile in the air, flying easily on long, tapering wings in pursuit ,, 1. . i- , • ' . . Eastern Form ot its insect prey, found in open country with scattered trees, it watches alertly from a high, bare branch, darting out to ambush passing insects. At other times it circles or glides in prolonged aerial hunts, catching insects in its broad-based bill. It usually occurs in pairs or small flocks, which huddle together to roost. The birds arc sociable when breeding and the nesting pair can often rely on help from other family members.

• NEST A cup nest made of twigs and rootlets, built inside a shrub or a hollow stump.

• DISTRIBUTION

Guinea, and

Australia.

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