Frugivory by the Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris)

posted in: bird, Square-tailed drongo | 0


Most of us would be familiar with Cuckoo species feeding on caterpillars and other insects but not fruit. The Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) is one in the group that is well known to take fruit. 

On 2nd June 2022 I observed a Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris), high in the canopy foraging. I initially assumed it was looking for caterpillars but one image showed a fruit in the beak that the bird consumed (see image with inset close up). The fruit is a small one but looks like a fig. 

Wells (1999) notes that little is known about the diet of this species in our location. 

In the Cuckoos of the World (Erritzøe, Mann, Brammer and Fuller 2012) food items taken are noted primarily as insect/animal prey. But it is stated that “more rarely banyan figs, other figs and fruits” are taken. 

There were 3 other species of Cuckoos also foraging in that location and I may have missed seeing frugivory by other Cuckoo species.



  1. Wells, D.R. (1999). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 1 (Passerines). Christopher Helm, London.
  2. Johannes Erritzøe, Clive F. Mann, Frederik P. Brammer and Richard A Fuller (2012). Cuckoos of the World. Helm Identification Guides.


Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


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