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Velvet-mantled Drongo - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Forest Drongo; Principe Drongo (modestus)

Dicrurus modestus


24–28 cm. (9½-11in)

  • Deep velvety black head and underparts (unglossed except slight greenish-blue sheen on forehead and crown)
  • Black mantle and back with faint violet-blue reflections, usually not much visible in field
  • Blackish-brown wing with moderate gloss (looking brighter than rest of plumage)
  • Long, forked tail
  • Deep red eye
  • Strong, hook-tipped black bill

Sexes similar, females slightly smaller. Juveniles have a pale barring on central belly and undertail-coverts and a brown eye.

Similar species

Similar to Fanti Drongo, but the latter has slight violet-blue gloss on the crown and mantle, whereas the former appears unglossed black on the mantle and underparts, contrasting more strongly with glossy feathers of the crown and wings. Differs from Square-tailed Drongo and Shining Drongo by larger size, deeply forked tail and less gloss. Differs from Fork-tailed Drongo by darker underside of flight-feathers and less gloss on back and underparts.


Islands of Príncipe and Bioko (Gulf of Guinea), and southern Nigeria to western Kenya, south to northwestern Angola and central Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Sometimes considered conspecific with Fork-tailed Drongo and Fanti Drongo


Two subspecies recognized[1]:

  • D. m. modestus:
  • D. m. coracinus:


Forest glades and clearings. Also in plantations and parks.
Occupies high canopy in mature and old secondary forest where co-existing with Fork-tailed Drongo (which is found in understorey then).


Aggressively territorial, harassing and chasing any other animal coming to close to nest.


Feeds on insects which are caught in the air. Often hunts at dusk.


The nest is a shallow cup made of twigs and rootlets and placed in a tree. Lays up to 3 eggs.


A resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  3. Rocamora, G. and D. Yeatman-Berthelot (2020). Velvet-mantled Drongo (Dicrurus modestus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, B. K. Keeney, P. G. Rodewald, and T. S. Schulenberg, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.vemdro6.01

Recommended Citation

External Links

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