Family Drongos (Dicruridae)

Least Concern

Crested Drongo (Dicrurus forficatus)


French: Drongo malgache German: Madagaskardrongo Spanish: Drongo malgache
Other common names: Madagascar Crested Drongo

Lanius forficatus


, 1766,

south-east Madagascar


DNA studies#R indicate that this species’ closest relative is D. aldabranus (which see), and also that it is more closely related to D. waldenii than to the older D. fuscipennis. Recent phylogeographical study of nominate race (Madagascar)#R found weak genetic structure along an E–W pattern and relatively low genetic diversity, with strong evidence that population had expanded out from several centres on the island. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. f. potior (Bangs & T. E. Penard, 1922) – Anjouan (Ndzuani), in C Comoro Is.
  • D. f. forficatus (Linnaeus, 1766) – Madagascar and some larger inshore islands, including Nosy Bé, Nosy Hara and Nosy Boraha (I Sainte Marie); at least formerly also Nosy Komba, Nosy Faly and Nosy Tanikely#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 26–30·5 cm and female 18–24·5 cm (nominate), male 28·5–31·5 cm and two females 25 cm and 27·5 cm (potior);... read more


    Very vocal and noisy, with extensive repertoire. Loud calls and whistles, as well as softer... read more


    Present in all wooded habitats, even with few scattered trees, from sea-level to 1875 m in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, some small vertebrates; fruits. Stomach contents from Madagascar include spiders (Araneae), beetles (of families... read more


    Laying in Sept–Dec (likely peak Oct–Nov) in most of Madagascar, and Oct to early Feb in SE dry areas; two males with enlarged... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Nominate race rather common in most wooded regions of Madagascar except in highlands, where rarer above 1000 m (uncommon at Montagne d'Ambre;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rocamora, G., Yeatman-Berthelot, D. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Crested Drongo (Dicrurus forficatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 March 2019).