The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) is a medium-sized Asian bird which is distinctive in having elongated outer tail feathers with webbing restricted to the tips. They are conspicuous in the forest habitats often perching in the open and by attracting attention with a wide range of loud calls that include perfect imitations of many other birds. It has been suggested that these imitations may help in the formation of mixed-species foraging flocks, a feature seen in forest bird communities where many insect feeders forage together. These drongos will sometimes steal insect prey caught or disturbed by other foragers in the flock. They are diurnal but are active well before dawn and late at dusk.
Like other drongos, these feed mainly on insects but also feed on fruits and visit flowering trees for nectar as seen in this image. Having short legs, they sit upright and are often perched on high and exposed branches. They are aggressive and will sometimes mob larger birds especially when nesting.
This is the largest of the drongo species and is readily identifiable by the distinctive tail rackets and the crest of curled feather that begin in front of the face above the beak and along the crown. The tail with twirled rackets is distinctive and in flight it can appear as if two large bees were chasing a black bird. This drongo can be confused with the Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, however the latter has flat rackets with the crest nearly absent.
p.s. Nictitating Eye Membrane noticed in this image, the nictitating membrane (from Latin nictare, to blink) is a transparent third eyelid present in some animals and birds that can be drawn across the eye for protection and to moisten it while maintaining visibility.
Camera – Canon 5D Mark III, Canon f4 500mm lens
EXIF – ISO 200 Av 4 Tv 1/800 sec EC +2, cropped
Location - Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Nagarahole, Kabini.