Let us be like a bird for a moment perched
On a frail branch when he sings;
Though he feels it bend, yet he sings his song,
Knowing that he has wings.”
– Victor Hugo
I dedicate this post to my dear friend Tess, who fell in love with these delightful birds when visiting Custard Cottage all the way from Devon a few weeks back.
It is a rare and wondrous thing to have a wild bird swoop down and settle on one’s hand. For me it’s an everyday occurrence but still a wondrous thing nonetheless.
Morning and late afternoon I throw wild-bird seed on the grass and in the bird-feeder for the turtle-doves, weavers and the fat speckled pigeon that likes to sit on our roof. Our other special visitors are the cheese loving, whisker sporting, fork tailed drongos.
It is not unusual for me to come out and find sometimes up to four and twenty black birds perched on my roof waiting for their cheese.
The Roberts Bird Guide says that the drongo is a black bird with a deeply forked tail, robust bill and red eye approximately 25cm and weighing 44 grams. In flight the wings are pale and translucent. They are feisty little birds that have been known to mob large raptors and are aggressive towards other large bird species, like the crow. The male and female look very similar to each other, with the males feathers being a bit more glossy than the female.
The juveniles are dark grey below with buff and grey tipped feathers.
The drongo lives mainly on insects (especially bees) mostly caught in flight, it also eat ticks off cattle, grubs and termites. The call is a loud repetitive twik and a jumble of “unoiled wagon wheel” creaks and rasping noises. These clever little creatures are able to mimic other bird calls and often sound a false alarm when an animal like a meerkat finds food, as soon as the unsuspecting meerkat flees the scene, thinking that a predator is about to pounce, the drongo swoops down and steals the food.
They are able to hover in place like hummingbirds and are adept a catching bits of cheese tossed into the air, in the image below you can see this drongos cute little “whiskers” very clearly.
I feel very privileged to live in a place so close to nature with this abundance of wildlife, I’m just not so keen on getting up close and personal with a boomslang or a puff adder though!
Time to fly!
All my love