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Birds of Bangladesh: Drongos

There are 26 recorded species of drongos found in different parts of the world, with Bangladesh being home to six of these – crow-billed drongo (Dicrurus annectans), bronzed drongo (Dicrurus aeneus), black drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus), spangled drongo (Dicrurus holientottus), greater racket-tailed drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) and lesser racket-tailed drongo (Dicrurus remifer). The name 'drongo' is thought to have originated in Madagascar from the indigenous language for a local species of bird, but has come to be used for all members of the family Dicruridae of the order Passeriformes.

Drongos are known for their wide range of vocal abilities, with some species able to imitate virtually any sound, including human voices. Their own vocalizations, however, tend to be harsh, including whistling, cackling and metallic sounds. Drongos are insectivorous and generally choose open forest and bush-type habitat. They either catch their prey in mid-air, or deftly pluck it from the ground. Most drongos are black in color, with some having a metallic sheen to their feathers.

The bronzed drongo is one of the smallest of the species, distinguished by the metallic gloss on its feathers, with a spangled effect evident on the neck, head and breast of the bird. The outer tail feather of its slender forked tail flare outward slightly, which is also an identifying feature of this species. As its name suggests, the spangled drongo also has this spangled effect around its neck, head and breast, but this species has fine feathers on top of its head which look like hair, no doubt the reason it is also known as the hair-crested drongo.

Drongos tend to be territorial during breeding time and are known to fearlessly attack larger species than themselves if they feel threatened. As an arboreal species, drongos build their nests high in trees, laying two to four eggs at a time. Both parents raise their young.

Be sure to look out for these interesting little birds when exploring the nature reserves and conservation areas of Bangladesh.


EMK Center: Promoting Public Service and the Arts

Located in the Dhaka suburb of Dhanmondi, the Edward M. Kennedy Center for Public Service and Arts is dedicated to inspiring, engaging and empowering citizens of all ages to uplift themselves and their communities. Acknowledging the potential of individuals to make changes, the EMK Center encourages young people to explore their talents and the opportunities available to them.

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Solar Energy Empowers Rural Bangladesh

A recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) revealed that in the past decade the number of solar energy systems in Bangladesh climbed from around 25,000 to 2.8 million. This number is set to rise as the Bangladeshi government reportedly plans to install around 7,000 photovoltaic systems per month to convert sunlight into energy for rural households that are not on the national power grid. The World Bank has offered the government a loan of $78.4 million to finance a total of 480,000 home solar systems, so many households will soon have the benefit of electricity. Acting head of World Bank Bangladesh, Christine E. Kimes, noted that investing in electricity in rural areas serves to empower people by increasing growth opportunities, increasing income and thereby reducing poverty. Currently close to 60% of Bangladeshis do not have electricity, and the government has set a goal of ensuring all citizens have access to electricity by 2021.

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