Order: Cuculiformes

Family: Cuculidae

Scientific name: Surniculus dicruroides, Hodgson, 1839

IUCN Red list status- Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Drongo Cuckoo is also known as Fork-tailed Cuckoo and Fork-tailed Drongo Cuckoo.
  2. Drongo Cuckoo lays their eggs in the nest of Babblers and Drongos.


The Drongo Cuckoo is 20- 25 cm long and weighs 30-50 grams. The overall plumage is black with steel-blue gloss. The head and upper back are less glossy. In the nape there are some white patches. The under parts are black. The long feathers on the leg are white. The tail is forked and under tail coverts have thin white bars. The bill is straight and black. The skin around the eye is black and feet are dark grey. Both sexes look similar. The juveniles are dull black and have fine white spots on head, wings and breast.


The diet of Drongo Cuckoo consists mainly of insects. Caterpillars and flying insects like dragon flies, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, locust, cicadas, beetles and moths are their primary food. Occasionally they take fruits and figs. They are mostly arboreal and glean insects from small branches and leaves in the canopy. The forage time is mainly day and it is done solitarily and very rarely in pairs.


Drongo Cuckoo has medium forest dependence. The natural ecosystems include shrub lands, open forests, lowland forests, bamboo forests and mangrove vegetations. In India they it is distributed throughout the peninsula in well wooded country. They are also found in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Reproductive Behaviour

The Breeding season is from March to October. Drongo Cuckoos are brood parasites and lays their eggs in the nest of birds like Drongos and Babblers and rely on them to raise their young. The breeding season coincides with breeding season of those birds. Normally a single egg is laid in the host nest. The egg is white with fine purple splotches. The host birds incubate the egg and cares nestlings.


The call is a loud clear piping whistling “pip-pip-pip-pip-pip“.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Philippine Drongo Cuckoo (Surniculus velutinus).
  • Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris).
  • Moluccan Drongo Cuckoo (Surniculus musschenbroeki).
  • Surniculus dicruroides dicruroides of Indian Subcontinent including Eastern and Western Ghats.
  • Surniculus dicruroides stewarti of Sri Lanka.

Migratory Behaviour

Rare Resident and local migratory.