African Bird Shouts False Alarms to Deceive and Steal, Study Shows
Drongos in the Kalahari are masters of deception.
For starlings and meerkats in the Kalahari Desert, the fork-tailed drongo, a songbird with glossy black feathers and garnet-red eyes, is like the neighborhood dog: a trustworthy pal that's always on the alert and ready to warn you about dangerous predators.
Except when it's lying. Because sometimes drongos, which are about the size of a scrub jay, make false alarm calls, causing their listeners to drop whatever juicy morsels they were dining on and flee the scene. Meanwhile the deceptive birds have swooped in and made off with their victim's meal. (Related: "The Bird That Cries Wolf Changes Its Lies")
Indeed drongos are notorious among wildlife observers for their thieving ways. But sometimes the birds call "hawk" too often, and