Bizarre but true! A bird has been discovered in the forests of Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve in Karnataka which is no less than a mimicry artist. The wonder singer imitates other bird species very accurately. The bird has been found by a researcher named Samira Agnihotri, who was in search of bird songs as she carried a microphone and a recorder. Samira has done masters in wildlife biology and conservation from the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru and she has been studying drongos for three years. The bird she has found mimics 35 other birds in the forests.
"Interestingly, I found them mimicking three mammals and two frog species as well," she said as she delivered a speech on 'Vocal mimicry in birds: Sincere flattery or devious deception' at National Institute of Advanced Studies on Wednesday.
These birds, according to Samira, apparently used different sets of mimicked calls with different syntax. While one was directed towards other racket-tailed drongos or conspecifics, the other was directed at other species or heterospecifics. Samira says a lot of research is required to analyse the reason for drongos’ mimicry in various situations.
"I have seen them mimicking most of the time, when they are alone, while mating, when other species are around or when they are threatened," she said. "As the woodpecker started drilling into a tree, some insects emerged. The drongo was seen feeding on them. The benefits of mimicking need to be studied in detail and that's what I am doing now," she added.