Short communication

The family icruridae includes 20 to 26 species of peculiar tree passerine birds spread mainly in the low latitudes of the Old World from Africa and Madagascar to New Guinea and Northern Australia. The putative center of its origin of this family is South Asia, where it is represented by the maximum number of recent species (Kartashov, 1974; Koblik, 2001). Nesting habitats of the hair-crested drongo (Dicrurus hottentotus), black drongo (D. macrocercus), and ashy drongo (D. leucophaeus) are located most closely to the southern extremity of the Russian Far East. The details of the current distribution of these species in Eastern China require clarification. Cases of vagrancy of the hair-crested drongo were observed four times in the southern part of Primorsky Krai (Vorobyev, 1948; Laptev and Medvedev, 1995; Labzyuk 1981, Glushchenko et al., 2006).
The black drongo, in addition to numerous records in Primorye (Belopol’skii and Dementyev, 1947; Nazarov and Labzyuk, 1975; Nazarov and Shibaev, 1984; Glushchenko et al, 1997, 2006; Litvinenko and Shibaev, 1999; Elsukov, 2003; Nazarov et al., 2001), was also recorded in the south of the Khabarovsk Krai (Spangenberg, 1960) and on the Sakhalin Island (Leonovich and Veprintsev, 1986).
The ashy drongo is reported for the fauna of Russia for the first time. One, apparently vagrant bird was encountered on June 7, 2011, on the southern shore of Lake Khanka (Luzanova Hill). For quite a long time it stayed in a sparse area of a broad-leaved forest, occasionally perching on one or another dry branch chosen as perches from which it hunted for insects. Initially, this bird was found by a strange song (bright and varied) produced in response to our simulation of the song of the paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradise), which we were looking for, in particular.
Judging by the color of plumage, the encountered bird belonged to the light-colored subspecies D. l. leucogenis (Walden), inhabiting the northeastern part of the species range. Its plumage was much worn and the beak had a significant (probably congenital) defect, as a result of which the ends of the upper and lower mandible asymmetric bended and crossed. Despite this defect, the bird looked quite healthy and very active. When this area was visited once again on June 21–22, 2011, the bird was not found, despite the specially performed search.
The area of reliable recordings of vagrant ashy drongos located most closely to Primorye is the southern sector of the North Korea and the boundary areas of Northeast China, where this species is known by three findings dated October 11, 1961, June 4, 1967, and during the breeding season of 1995 (date not specified). The nearest breeding sites of the ashy drongo are located in China’s Hebei Province, approximately 400 km off the western border of the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea (Tomek, 2002).

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Recomended citation

Gluschenko Yu.N., Korobov D.V. (2012) Ashy drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus Vieillot, 1817
— a new species in the avifauna of Russia // Far East. J.Orn. 3: 61—64.