Watch a Bird Trick Meerkats Out of Their Food - Atlas Obscura
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Watch a Bird Trick Meerkats Out of Their Food

Turns out drongo birds are the ultimate con artists of the animal kingdom.

Sometimes in nature, it’s not about who works the hardest, but who cons the smartest. Such is the case in the complicated relationship between drongo birds and meerkats in the deserts of Southern Africa.

This video shows the development of a plot line worthy of a Shakespearean play. A drongo bird watches meerkats scavenge for food in the desert. Rather than waste its precious energy following their example, it decides to wage a psychological war against them.

First, the bird gains the meerkat’s trust by warning them when an eagle approaches. But as soon as it has secured their confidence, it uses it against them by sounding a false alarm and swooping in to eat the food they left behind in their panic.

The betrayal doesn’t end there. The meerkat’s confidence has been lost and the bird cannot fool them twice with the same trick. Instead, it employs an even more treacherous trick by learning to imitate the warning call of the meerkat’s leader. With their catch lost and their pride hurt, the meerkats are left in a tragic state while the drongo bird enjoys its feast.

If you want a surefire way to teach your children about the unfair ways of the world, just make them watch this video.

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