Fork-tailed DrongoStudy With Safari Guides in Botswana
What safari guides should know:
Particularly learners on our FGASA trails guide training course become very familiar with the drongo because they will actively mob snakes and other predators and these alarm calls are more audible when we are on foot.
Drongos are the ultimate con-artists and are able to watch behavior of other animals and come up with unique strategies to capitalize on opportunities. It was noted by researchers following meerkat that fork-tailed drongo would follow a family of feeding meerkat and wait for them to dig up a suitable grub. At that point the drongo would issue the alarm call used for an incoming eagle and the meerkat would dash underground leaving the morsel for the drongo to feed on at leisure.
Birding guides are often caught out by the imitations made by drongo of other birds. Most often they imitate the pearl-spotted owlet and gabar goshawk. The unsuspecting guide will take the birders to look for these interesting species only to find a drongo. So why do they do this? Most likely it is because they feed by flying from a perch and catching insects that fly between the bushes. A feeding type called hawking. Drongos are not the only birds that hawk but by whistling the calls of raptors that catch birds in flight it makes the competition very reluctant to leave the safety of the bush and compete with the drongo. Smart bird! These are the animals that give nature guides something to talk about when the big game is scarce. You are expected to be able to identify both the drongo and it’s call on the FGASA Level 1 and BQA Level 2 Nature Guide Courses.
The deeply forked tail, heavier bill and reddish eye help to distinguish this bird from the similar Black Flycatcher.
Distribution in Botswana:
Fork-tailed Drongo are one of the most common resident birds of Botswana and occur throughout. They are found mostly in woodland and savannah habitat.
FGASA Level 1 Course Specialist Birding Course