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This Deceptive Bird Steals Foods from Other Animals by Imitating Their Calls

“Hello, I’m a fellow meerkat, and I’ll be happy to watch your lunch while you take a break.”

Fork-tailed drongo

Fork-tailed drongo. Image credit: Dick Daniels / Wikimedia Commons.

In Australia, the term “drongo” sometimes describes a dummy or halfwit person. However, the drongo is also name of the bird in Africa, which is not dumb actually.

Based on the study published in the newest edition of the Science, drongos are able to mimic the calls of 51 different species impressively and also remember 32 calls at least.

The fork-tailed drongos, Dicrurus adsimilis in technical term, can give warning by their calls to other animals to be alert of any predators nearby, for example, their alarm calls can send meerkats scurry away. In addition, they also give false alarms to animals that will give up their food and run away. Afterwards, they will swoop in and eat the food left. If the alarm call of their own species fails to do so, they will turn to the call of another species whose prey they are trying to take. As a result, drongos are able to get 23 percent of their daily food by application of such trickery.

According to the researchers, the drongos could keep fooling duped targets by changing their calls smartly, because if they stick to the same call, the other animals would be soon familiar with it and probably view the drongos as the “boy who cried wolf.” However, drongos are cleverly aware of this; therefore they will learn to sing as many languages as they could.

Source: Popular Science.