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Stories Stories Environment Liar! Liar! African bird uses elaborate ruse to steal food

Liar! Liar! African bird uses elaborate ruse to steal food

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Written by Aldine      May 02, 2014    
 
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Liar! Liar! African bird uses elaborate ruse to steal food.jif

If you believe honesty is the best policy, you would have a hard time convincing the forked-tailed drongo. This tricky African bird is the pathological liar of the animal kingdom.

Scientists described on Thursday how this medium-sized bird brazenly deceives other animals by mimicking alarm calls made by numerous bird species - and even meerkats - to warn of an approaching predator in a ruse to frighten them off and steal food they leave behind.

"This tricky African bird is the pathological liar of the animal kingdom"

The scientists noticed that sometimes the other animals "get wise" to the con and ignore repeated false alarm calls. But then the wily drongos simply grab another tool from their toolbox of trickery - they mimic the alarm calls made by other animals, once again conning them into fleeing and leaving their chow behind.

Flower observed drongos mimicking more than 50 calls.

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Liar! Liar! African bird uses elaborate ruse to steal food.jpg

Location

Epicentre
South Africa,Northern Cape,John Taolo Gaetsewe,Ga-Segonyana

Details

Author
WILL DUNHAM
Contributor's Comment
Forked-tail drongo is shown perched in Kuruman River Reserve in South Africa in 2008 in this image courtesy of Tom Flower
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