Family Drongos (Dicruridae)

Least Concern

Fork-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis)


French: Drongo brillant German: Trauerdrongo Spanish: Drongo ahorquillado

Corvus adsimilis


, 1794,

Duiwenhok River, southern Cape, South Africa


In past, often treated as conspecific with D. macrocercus, but differs slightly in plumage and significantly in proportions and voice; possible close relationship between the two supported by DNA studies#R. Race divaricatus intergrades with fugax in N Uganda and Kenya. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. a. divaricatus (M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1823) – SW Mauritania, Senegambia and Guinea E in savanna belt to N Cameroon, S Chad, S Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, S to Central African Republic, N DRCongo, N Uganda and N Kenya.
  • D. a. apivorus Clancey, 1976 – SE Gabon and adjacent Congo, WC & S DRCongo, Angola, N & W Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and N South Africa (N Northern Cape E to N Limpopo).
  • D. a. fugax W. K. H. Peters, 1868 – Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania (including Zanzibar) S to E Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, E Botswana, NE South Africa (E Limpopo S to NE KwaZulu-Natal) and E Swaziland.
  • D. a. adsimilis (Bechstein, 1794) – W Swaziland, Lesotho lowlands, and E & S South Africa (S Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal S to SW Western Cape).
  • Descriptive notes

    23–26 cm; 34–48 g (divaricatus), 48–53 g (nominate). Nominate race is almost entirely black, glossed blue-green on head, upperparts, breast and... read more


    Very vocal; often the first bird to sing at dawn and last to be heard at dusk. Pre-dawn calls... read more


    All types of wooded habitats except dense forest, mainly from sea-level to low hills, including... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food mostly large insects, including moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), cicadas (... read more


    Season roughly Mar–Sept N of equator and Sept–Jan S of it; Apr–Jul in W Africa, Nov–Jun (mainly Feb–Apr) in... read more


    Resident; possibly some short-distance movements in S.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common to abundant and widespread in all kinds of open woodland habitats; one of the commonest birds of African savanna.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rocamora, G. & Yeatman-Berthelot, D. (2019). Fork-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis). 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 25 March 2019).