Thursday, August 13, 2009

Black drongos' beak-to-beak fight

Dear nature lovers,

I have read and heard of Black Drongos (Dicrurus macrocercus) having a
ferocious temper. Over the past couple of decades I have seen them
chasing off all kind of birds, once even a Brahminy Kite (Haliastur
indus) which is also known for its daring nature.

But in the last two months I have witnessed incidents of them being at
heights of pugnaciousness.

On 2 Aug '09, I sighted a pair guarding a small (apx. 20 feet tall)
dead acacia tree in Sultanpur Jheel National Park near Gurgaon,
Haryana. They were attacking all birds that dared to fly in the
vicinity. But I was taken aback when one of these pecked the crown of
a big peafowl that dared passed below their perch. The peafowl,
though, was unfazed and walked away at the same pace.

The other incident was a real shocker for me as I saw two of these
birds being very serious about their physical fight with each other.

On 25 June 2009, in Ranthambore National Park, on a game ride in a
Gypsy vehicle besides Raj Bagh Talao lake, I observed a pair of these
in a ferocious beak to beak bout. They were right in the middle of the
game road. For nearly 6 minutes we watched these two birds lock their
beaks, roll repeatedly side ways over the path and scream at the top
of their voice. Many safari vehicles had to take a detour off the game
road as these determined fighters refused to budge. This was a very
intense battle, the likes of which I have rarely witnessed in any two
birds of the same species. We had to leave the place as my co-tourists
were non-birders. But looking back at the intensity of this combat, I
some how feel this fight might have ended with one of them being
fatally wounded by the other. Please see the images of this incident

I would like to hear similar observations if any.

Best regards,
Ameen Ahmed
New Delhi/ Tumkur

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