Over the last few weeks I have had a number of Spangled Drongos (Dicrurus bracteatus) in and around my yard. These birds are so noisy that you certainly can't miss them but I found it difficult to get good photos of them. The fish-tail and the red eye are distinctive and I certainly could get plenty of photos of them in silhouette against the light but I wanted to show the beautiful sheen on their wings and the spangles (blue-green iridescent spots) down their front. I would slowly and quietly move towards a tree where I had just seen one fly then hear the harsh cackling sound of several sitting somewhere behind me. That harsh cackle sounds to me like a "birdy" laugh - at my expense I am sure! I am always listening for bird song around my house and when I hear a new song/sound I hurry outside to identify it. Spangled Drongos are great mimics and I have been fooled a number of times recently. The only give-away is that - even though they seem able to pitch their voices wherever they want them up and down the scale- they always have the same vocal quality somewhere in their calls. Yesterday I heard a new call and realized they were copying the alarm call of the Spur-winged Plovers (or Masked Lapwings!). At least they haven't - Yet! - been copying the screech of the cockatoos!
This last photo shows some of the spangles down the front and also the 'crest' of feathers on the side of the head which they seem able to raise whenever they wish.