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Spangled Drongo


Spangled Drongo


Dicrurus bracteatus


The onset of winter brings the star of the season, one of our winter migrants, the Spangled Drongo. Whilst most migrants have spent the summer in Sydney avoiding the cold in the Northern Hemisphere, this bird has been to northern Australia and Papua New Guinea for breeding. Going against the general flow of traffic it comes to spend the winter with us arriving in March-April and stays until September-October.

The Spangled Drongo is an all black bird with a bright red eye and a very distinctive "fish-tail". It likes to perch on open bare branches or wire, and frequently flicks its tails open and shut.

The beautiful spangles for which the bird is named are best seen scattered on the breast of the adult bird. When the sun shines on the bird's breast, the small, highly reflective, blue-green iridescent spots are revealed in all their glory.

Insects form the bulk of the bird's diet and are taken in flight. There are bristles around the base of the bill which assist with insect catching in flight by guiding an insect into the open bill. Often, after much twisting, turning and aerial pursuit, the insects are brought back to the perch.

The Spangled Drongo's call is varied and consists of harsh chattering, strange metallic notes, rasping, hissing and crackling. It is very vocal and often gives its location away long before you see it.

Spangled Drongos are a delight to watch as they go about their business and perhaps you will have the chance to see one in the Parklands in winter.

What WAS that you just saw?

If you think you've spotted an unusual bird, visit the Bird Spotting Register and if it's not recorded there, let us know!

Discover Birds in Back Yards

The Birds in Backyards website is full of helpful information for amateur bird watchers and seasoned veterans alike.

Explore the Parklands' ponds

Centennial Park's extensive system of freshwater ponds includes One More Shot Pond, the Lily Pond and Randwick Pond.