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Mayotte drongo

Dicrurus waldenii

Photo by Roger le Guen (Flickr)

Common name:
Mayotte drongo (en); drongo-de-Mayotte (pt); drongo de Mayotte (fr); drongo de la Mayotte (es); Mayottedrongo (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Dicruridae

This species is endemic to the island of Mayotte in the Comoro island group, noth of Madagascar. There it occurs sparsely and locally, especially in the northern and western parts of the island.

These birds are 28-38 cm long.

The Mayotte drongo is mostly found along the edges of rainforests, also using mixed secondary forests, moist scrublands, mangroves, plantations and orchards. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 200 m.

They sally out from a perch to take to hunt insects, particularly cicadas, but also bugs, butter flies, caterpillars, and possibly also small vertebrates.

The Mayotte drongo breeds in September-February. The nest is a solid cup made of intertwined plant fibres, and placed in a fork in a tree. The female lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated for 19-21 days. The chicks fledge 17-25 days after hatching but only become fully independent 1 month later and remain with the parents until the next breeding season. Each pair raises a single brood per season.

IUCN status – VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a small breeding range and the global population is estimated at 5.000 individuals. Although they are able to survive in degraded habitats, these support lower densities than the natural rainforests, so the population is suspected to be declining due to deforestation. In the second half of the 20th century roughly 25% of Mayotte’s forests were cleared for agriculture and timber, while the growing human population is increasingly encroaching the existing forests. A network of reserves now covers all remaining natural forests, but these do not have formal protection under French law. Other threats include the loss of mangroves due to the heavy sediment loads from the deforested interior, frequent devastating cyclones, and the potential introduction of new nest predators.

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