Sunday, April 22

Ashy drongo

   ›      ›   Ashy drongo - Dicrurus leucophaeus

The ashy drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus) belongs to the family of drongos, the Dicruridae.

The ashy drongo species is distributed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, southeast Asia and China. These drongo species have plumage of varying shades of gray. These drongos are polytypic species.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Ashy Drongo Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The ashy drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus) is a medium sized drongo, measuring 25 to 30 cm in length and weighing 40 to 55 grams.

The ashy drongo species have gray plumage, varying in shades among the subspecies. Some subspecies have whitish markings on the head and body. The underparts are paler than the upperparts. The tail is long and deeply forked.

The bill is black and the tip of the upper mandible is hooked. The irises are red. There is a red eye-ring. The legs are short and dark gray. The call of these ashy drongo species is a pleasant repeated "cheep..chip..chip" or "cheerp..chirp..chirp" sound.
Birds of India - Image of Ashy drongo - Dicrurus leucophaeus
1.Indian birds - Image of Ashy drongo - Dicrurus leucophaeus by Garima Bhatia


Indian birds - Image of Ashy drongo - Dicrurus leucophaeus
2.Birds of India - Image of Ashy drongo - Dicrurus leucophaeus by Jameela P.

Birds of India - Image of Ashy drongo - Dicrurus leucophaeus
3.Indian birds - Image of Ashy drongo - Dicrurus leucophaeus by Koshy Koshy

Indian birds - Image of Ashy drongo - Dicrurus leucophaeus
4.Birds of India - Image of Ashy drongo - Dicrurus leucophaeus by Koshy Koshy

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These ashy drongo species are distributed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and China.

In India, the wintering drongo species are distributed in all the states, except for Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

The ashy drongo subspecies D. l. longicaudatus, D. l. hopwoodi, D. l. leucogenis, D. l. salangensis and D. l. mouhoti are migratory. The ashy drongo subspecies D. l. nigrescens, D. l. innexus, D. l. bondi, D. l. celaenus, D. l. leucophaeus, D. l. whiteheadi, D. l. batakensis, D. l. phaedrus, D. l. siberu, D. l. periophthalmicus and D. l. stigmatops are resident birds.

Ecosystem and habitat

These ashy drongo species have low forest dependence. They normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 2400 meters. The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include rural gardens, plantations, agricultural lands and heavily degraded forests.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these drongo species include tropical and subtropical moist montane forests, foothill forests, temperate forests, lowland forests, dry savanna, mangroves, dry shrublands and moist shrublands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these ashy drongo species consists mainly of insects. Flying insects, dragonflies, moths, beetles, winged termites and ants, grasshoppers, crickets, cicadas, locust and insect larvae are their primary food.

These ashy drongo species are also known to feed on nectar, small lizards, small mammals, eggs and hatchlings. They perch on prominent places and make aerial sallies to catch the prey. They also glean their prey from the foliage.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these ashy drongo species is during May and June in India, Pakistan and Nepal. The laying season is from April to June in China. The breeding season is during April in Myanmar.

These drongo species are monogamous and territorial. The nesting sites are located on tree branches. The nest is a loose cup-shaped structure. Both the parents take part in nest building.

The nest is built with grass, twigs, sedges, reeds, creeper strings, leaves and plant fibers. The clutch contains three to five pale red or brown eggs with speckles. The eggs are incubated by both the parents. The hatchlings are cared for by both the parents.

Migration and movement patterns

These ashy drongo species are partially migratory birds. The migratory breeding populations are distributed in northern Afghanistan, Himalayas (Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan), north Myanmar and central and east China.

The migratory breeding populations move southwards from September-October onwards to India (except arid regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat), Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and south Malaysian peninsula for wintering.

There are resident ashy drongo breeding populations in southeast China, Myanmar, India (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.

Post breeding, the resident juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. Within their range they may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Ashy drongo - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Dicrurus leucophaeus
  • Species author: Vieillot, 1817
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Dicrurus leucophœus Vieillot, 1817
  • Family: Dicruridae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Ashy drongo, Chinese: 灰卷尾, French: Drongo cendré German: Graudrongo Spanish: Drongo cenizo, Russian: Серый дронго, Japanese: ハイイロオウチュウ, Malay: Cecawi Kelabu
  • Other names: Gray Drongo, White-cheeked Drongo
  • Distribution: Afghanistan, Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, China
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, nectar
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the ashy drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of the species is not known.

In most of its range, this species is reported to be common to uncommon (Grimmett et al. 1998). The generation length is not known. Its distribution size is about 21,200,000 sq.km.

Habitat alteration and destruction, agricultural expansion, reduction in prey population and trapping for pet-trade are the main threats that are endangering the survival of these species.

IUCN and CITES status

The ashy drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the drongo species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the ashy drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Dicrurus leucophaeus
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Passeriformes
Family:Dicruridae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Dicrurus
Species:D. leucophaeus
Binomial name:Dicrurus leucophaeus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The sixteen recognized subspecies of the ashy drongo are: D. l. longicaudatus, D. l. hopwoodi, D. l. leucogenis, D. l. salangensis, D. l. mouhoti, D. l. nigrescens, D. l. innexus, D. l. bondi, D. l. celaenus, D. l. leucophaeus, D. l. whiteheadi, D. l. batakensis, D. l. phaedrus, D. l. siberu, D. l. periophthalmicus and D. l. stigmatops.
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1.Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ashy_Drongo_0420_GarimaBhatia.jpg (cropped)
Image author: Garima Bhatia | License: CC BY-SA 4.0 as on 4/22/18
2.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ashy_drongo_1.jpg (cropped)
Image author: Jameela P. | License: CC BY-SA 4.0 as on 4/22/18
3.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kkoshy/27588311346/ (cropped)
Image author: Koshy Koshy | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 4/22/18
4.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kkoshy/35068424065/ (cropped)
Image author: Koshy Koshy | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 4/22/18
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