Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Fork-tailed Drongo-cuckoo (Surniculus dicruroides)


Taxonomy

French: Coucou à queue fourchue German: Gabelschwanz-Drongokuckuck Spanish: Cuclillo drongo coliahorquillado
Taxonomy:

Pseudornis Dicruroïdes

Hodgson

, 1839,

mountains of Nepal

.

Closely related to S. lugubris, S. velutinus and S. musschenbroeki, with which commonly considered conspecific, but evidence assembled by recent authors#R#R indicates that it differs in its distinct song (allow 3); forked tail (2); finer bill and shorter primary extension than lugubris (1+1=2) and glossy crown and mantle vs matt velvet black in musschenbroeki and velutinus (2). HBW recognized no variation within populations of S. dicruroides; subsequently, however, one author recognized race barussarum and treated stewarti as a race of S. lugubris#R, while another treatment transferred barussarum to S. lugubris but placed stewarti with present species#R. Latter arrangement followed here, but situation complex and further substantiation desirable. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. d. dicruroides (Hodgson, 1839) – Indian Subcontinent including Eastern and Western Ghats, Punjab and lower Himalayas E through Nepal to Assam and Manipur, and from SC & SE China (Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong, Fujian, Hainan) S to N Myanmar and N Vietnam; winters S to Indochina#R, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra (and Nias I), Java and Natuna Is.
  • S. d. stewarti E. C. S. Baker, 1920 – Sri Lanka and perhaps S India.
  • Descriptive notes

    25 cm; 32·5–50·5 g. Smallish cuckoo with forked tail. Adult is black glossed steel-blue, though less so on head and upper back, often with concealed white spot on nape, long... read more

    Voice

    Song comprises a 5–6 loud piping whistles that rise up the scale, with second note lower or level... read more

    Habitat

    Inhabits broadleaved and mixed forests, including scrub jungle, dry forests and bamboo-dominated... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet apparently mostly insects, with an accent on caterpillars, but also some fruit, e.g. Ficus figs. Gleans food on branches and... read more

    Breeding

    Breeds Apr in Myanmar, Apr and Jun in Bangladesh, Jun in Nepal, Mar–Oct in N India, Jun–Sept in Madhya Pradesh (C India), Jan–March in... read more

    Movements

    Resident (e.g. in S India, Sri Lanka and Hainan, China), seasonally migratory and nomadic,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Like many other forest birds, this species is subject to the effects of widespread habitat destruction throughout its range, but... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2017). Fork-tailed Drongo-cuckoo (Surniculus dicruroides). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/467239 on 20 November 2017).