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Spangled Drongo

Dicrurus bracteatus


This is my very first encounter with a Spangled Drongo, and I helped it out by rescuing it from an overly-aggressive Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala). It had chased this bird into the undergrowth, and there it stayed until I chased the miner off. I managed to get fairly close, and am certain it was more frightened of the miner than it was of me. This is a very attractive bird, and is the only Drongo species to be found in Australia. It has glossy black plumage with iridescent blue-green spots (spangles), a long forked tail and blood red eyes. It also has a very sturdy beak, and my first impression was that it looked like a scaled-down version of a crow. The reference links provide plenty of info. There's a closely related species as well which is also referred to as a Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus hottentotus), but it occurs in other parts of Asia and some south-west Pacific islands.


Spotted in a native garden at the Metroplex on Gateway estate, Murarrie, Brisbane. The Metroplex wetlands are only a stone's throw from this location, and I think that's the area this species would frequent. They usually prefer wet forests, but can also be found in other woodlands, mangroves and parks. They tend to avoid more dense forest types and rainforest interiors. It's a migratory species - Individuals from the northern areas of Western Australia and the Northern Territory migrate northwards to Indonesia, while the eastern Australian birds migrate to New Guinea. Some Drongos in the south-east and central-east, however, remain in the same area or head south, occasionally turning up in Tasmania.


Here's a bit of trivia for you. "Drongo" is Australian slang for "idiot", possibly referring to the bird's uninhibited and sometimes comical behaviour as it swoops and perches in search of food. I'm aware of the slang, but had no idea this was the bird it was referring to. PS: Not the best photos, but it was twilight and I was trying to avoid using the flash. An open aperture without the flash brought out the iridescent colours, but lost some clarity in the process. A fair trade-off.

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Neil Ross
Neil Ross 8 years ago

A really lucky find. I was so happy to see one. I think they're gorgeous birds, and the colour was quite amazing. Would love to see one in sunlight, and to watch their antics.

This "Drongo" is a good looking bird! Nice find :)

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 8 years ago

A chance spotting, Chris. It's amazing what you see when filling in the minutes to sign off from work. In less than a week, two bird species I'd never seen before just fell from the sky. What's next?

Christiane 8 years ago

WOW .. Great Spotting.. :)

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 8 years ago

Cheers, Desmond. I'd never seen one before, and thought it was a small crow.

Desmond.E.S.O 8 years ago

How awesome!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 8 years ago

OK. Last photo - the tail.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 8 years ago

Hey Mark, it's taken me 52 years to spot this guy. The clock is running.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 8 years ago

You have a mission now Neil... a good shot of the tail. :)

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 8 years ago

Thanks James, KD, and Mary. I was wrapped to spot this guy, and it's only that I saw the miner chase this fellow into the bushes that I knew it was there. Grabbed my camera, and my work mates asked "what are you after now?", shaking their heads as I disappeared into the undergrowth. I have a reputation, you see :-/ 8 years ago

Always great to get a new spotting isn't it! Thanks for sharing your great pictures and story.

kdpicturemaker 8 years ago

Beautiful. Great photos Neil & great info.

James McNair
James McNair 8 years ago

Wonderful series Neil

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Spotted on May 7, 2015
Submitted on May 7, 2015

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