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Mobile HTML5 by Estelle Weyl

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Colophon

The animal on the cover of Mobile HTML5 is a Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus). This distinctive bird is notable for its elongated outer tail feathers, making it easily recognizable in its Asian habitats. As talented vocalists, Racket-tailed Drongos possess a wide range of calls and can mimic other birds’ songs as well.

In heavily forested areas, such as those where the Drongo normally lives, large mixed-species flocks form as hundreds of birds forage for insects together. It is believed that the Drongo’s ability to imitate calls has to do with this feeding situation—the Drongo learns the alarm calls of other types of birds and repeats them. This behavior has been likened to a person learning short, useful phrases and exclamations in a variety of languages. Although African Grey Parrots can use human speech in the correct context, they have never exhibited this kind of situation-reliant behavior in the wild. In contrast, the Drongo will use its language skills to its advantage, often by imitating the call of a raptor to create a panic among the feeding group, allowing the Drongo to steal food unnoticed.

While Drongos can be quite aggressive when it comes to territory, they have a very playful and extended courtship display. Two prospective mates will sing to each other, hop and turn about on branches, and drop objects from high and then dive down to pluck them from mid-air. Once a pair has mated, they build a small cup-shaped nest in which to lay the clutch of three ...

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