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Dusky Woodswallow, Artamus cyanopterus

Dusky WoodswallowPhoto copyright Dave Watts


The Dusky Woodswallow is a medium sized (up to 180mm) bird. Plumage is smoky brown with dark blue-grey wings with white edges. The tail is black with a white tip. The bill is blue-grey with a black tip and the eye is dark brown. There is a black patch in front of the eyes. Males and females are similar. Young birds are grey-brown, streaked and mottled buff to cream.


The Dusky Woodswallow is found in sclerophyll forest and woodland, coastal scrub and wooded farmland.


Dusky Woodswallows have a varied diet. Insects are taken on the wing as well as from foliage and on the ground. They also eat nectar from flowers.


The Dusky Woodswallow often nests colonially. The nest is an untidy bowl of twigs, grass and roots, lined with fine grass. It is placed in a tree fork, behind bark, in a stump hollow or in a fence post. Three or four white eggs are laid. Both parents build the nest, incubate the eggs and feed the young.


Loud chirrups, "chirp-chirp', "peert-peert" while in flight or at rest, and harsh chattering. (Audio recordings courtesy of David Stewart/Nature Sound)
Distribution Map courtesy Natural Values Atlas, data from theLIST
© 2010 State of Tasmania


On mainland Australia, Dusky Woodswallows range from the Atherton Tableland, Queensland to Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. A second population occurs in south-west Western Australia.

In Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands, the species is a common summer migrant.