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Ribbon-tailed Drongo Dicrurus megarhynchus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species has been uplisted to Near Threatened as it has a moderately small range which is estimated to be declining owing to the impact of logging and clearance for subsistence agriculture, although the range is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to few locations. Should the population be found to be severly fragmented or declining more rapidly, the species would warrant uplisting to a higher threat category.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

40-63 cm including tail-streamers. Glossy black bird with long forked tail and very long twisted outer tail feathers. Tail-streamers are often broken or absent. Uniformly black with blue gloss, especially crown, wings and tail, and small bright blue spots on neck and breast, and red eye. Similar spp. Short-tailed birds differ from Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica by forked or square tail and clear blue spots on breast and habits. Voice Noisy, with variable loud calls. Loud shrieking rasp schrEER EEER. Harsh melodious sch-sch-brip. Series of melodious, simple, slurred and disyllabic whistles. High-pitched fluty notes. Rattling ch-ch-ch.

Distribution and population
Dicrurus megarhynchus is endemic to New Ireland (Papua New Guinea), where it is found in primary lowland forest, hill forest, stunted mossy montane forest and tall secondary growth (del Hoyo et al. 2009, Dutson 2011). It is suggested that >50% of the population occurs in the contiguous tract of montane forest extending down into the lowlands of southern New Ireland (G. Dutson and B. Beehler in litt. 2012).

Population justification
The population is estimated to be 'in the hundreds of thousands' (G. Duston in litt. 2012), best placed in the band 100,000-499,999 individuals, based on density estimates and size of remaining suitable habitat.

Trend justification
A recently published analysis of forest loss in Papua New Guinea indicates that c.21% of forest cover was lost in New Ireland between 1972 and 2002 (Shearman et al. 2009). Of New Ireland's total forest cover in 1972, c.32% had been degraded by 2002, leaving c.40% of remaining forest cover in a degraded state (Shearman et al. 2009). Thus there is evidence that the species's habitat is being destroyed and degraded, leading to on-going declines in the species's range.

It is found in primary lowland forest, hill forest, stunted mossy montane forest and tall secondary growth from sea-level to c.1,800 m (del Hoyo et al. 2009). Fairly shy, but loud and active, often chasing each other, in mid-storey and lower canopy. Usually in pairs (Dutson 2011).

Logging and clearance of habitat for subsistence agriculture is the primary threat to the species, with c.21% of forest cover having been lost in New Ireland between 1972 and 2002 (Shearman et al. 2009).

Conservation measures underway
None is known

Conservation measures proposed
Continue to monitor trends in forest loss. Conduct surveys to establish estimates of its population size. Research its tolerance of degraded forest. Safeguard the species's habitat.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Dutson, G. 2011. Birds of Melanesia: Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Christopher Helm, London.

Shearman, P. L., Ash, J., Mackey, B. Bryan, J. E. and Lokes, B. 2009. Forest Conversion and Degradation in Papua New Guinea 1972-2002. Biotropica 41: 379-390.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Ekstrom, J.

Dutson, G., Beehler, B.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Dicrurus megarhynchus. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Dicruridae (Drongos)
Species name author (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 7,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species