Why does the drongo bird mimic the sentry call of a meerkat?

Why does the drongo bird mimic the sentry call of a meerkat?

One clever African bird called the forked-tailed drongo has evolved the ability to mimic the calls of other species, including other types birds and meerkats. When the drongo spots a coveted tasty morsel in the paws or claws of another creature, it simply mimics the warning call of that animal.

Why is drongo an insult?

Insult. The word drongo is used in Australian English as a mild form of insult meaning “idiot” or “stupid fellow”. This usage derives from an Australian racehorse of the same name (apparently after the spangled drongo, Dicrurus bracteatus) in the 1920s that never won despite many places.

How do drongo birds use their imitation skills to steal food?

Because the drongo can imitate so many species’ warnings, animals do not get used to the bird’s own false alerts, the biologists said in a study that appeared in the journal Science. …

How do Drongos and meerkats work together?

If a drongo is following a meerkat, for instance, and the small mammal turns up juicy larvae or a gecko, the drongo is likely to switch from honest sentry to deceptive thief. But after a while, if the drongo has called repeatedly, the targets stop responding. That’s when the bird tries another tactic: vocal mimicry.

What noise does a drongo bird make?

Spangled Drongos are noisy, conspicuous species and make a wide range of different sounds. Vocalisations include complex mechanical jangling songs, strident whistles, excited chattering calls, harsh grating sounds & mimicry. Pairs or small family groups of Spangled Drongos often chatter and sing together.

Can a drongo imitate voices?

However, drongos evade this universal constraint on deception because when their target species learns to ignore one false alarm call type, drongos employ vocal mimicry to change the alarm call and thereby resume their food theft. They should be able to hold out for as long as their alarm repertoire lasts.

What does it mean to call someone a drongo?

drongo. A fool, a simpleton, an idiot. There is also a bird called a drongo.

What does drongo mean in British?

a stupid or slow-witted person; simpleton.

Which bird makes a sound of another bird to steal its food?

fork-tailed drongo
The fork-tailed drongo of the Kalahari Desert is a master of deception: It can mimic not only the distress calls of other bird species, but the alarms sounded by meerkats as well. Why does the drongo do it? The mimicry tricks the other species into abandoning their food, giving the drongo an opportunity to steal it.

Are meerkats and warthogs friends?

Together they have a mutually beneficial symbiotic partnership which, while inspirational, is rather unusual. In the wild, we certainly do see symbiotic relationships between unlikely pairings but this meerkat and warthog coupling is a Disney creation.

What are the predators of meerkats?

Snakes, jackals and eagles are the main meerkat predators, so they can be attacked from the ground or sky. Meerkats take turns to guard the rest of the group, remaining alert for any predators whilst the others are busy looking for food.

What is a bloody drongo?

‘Filthy drongo’ meaning A phrase commonly used by Australians. A filthy drongo is like calling someone an idiot. Example: Look at that bloody filthy drongo over there by the barby. He can’t even bloody cook the bloody idiot.

What kind of call does a fork tailed drongo make?

The call is a metallic strink-strink. The fork-tailed drongo uses alarm calls to steal food from birds and animals such as meerkats. They make drongo-specific calls as well as mimicked calls.

How does the Drongo bird deceive its victims?

Sometimes drongos can deceive their victims by using their drongo alarm call. But after a while, if the drongo has called repeatedly, the targets stop responding. That’s when the bird tries another tactic: vocal mimicry. Drongos have an arsenal of alarm calls of numerous species, including birds and mammals, Flower has discovered.

Where are the alarm calls of the drongos?

To study the drongos’ alarm calls, Tom Flower, an evolutionary biologist at South Africa’s University of Cape Town, has habituated and banded about 200 of the birds in the Kuruman River Reserve in the Kalahari Desert. (It’s the same area occupied by the meerkats in the television series Meerkat Manor .)

Where does the black drongo live in the world?

It is native to the tropics, subtropics and temperate zones of the Afrotropics. Its range was formerly considered to include Asia, but the Asian species is now called the black drongo ( Dicrurus macrocercus ).