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Dusky woodswallow

Artamus cyanopterus

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)

Common name:
dusky woodswallow (en); andorinha-do-bosque-sombria (pt); langrayen sordide (fr); artamo sombrío (es); rußschwalbenstar (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Artamidae

This species is endemic to Australia, being found in two separate populations. The eastern population is found from Atherton Tableland, Queensland south to Tasmania and west to Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. The other population is found in south-western Western Australia.

These birds are 17-18 cm long and weigh 35 g.

The dusky woodswallow is mostly found in open, dry tropical forests and savannas, but also in dry scrublands, rural gardens, urban areas and occasionally in moist tropical forests and temperate forests.

They feed mostly on insects, which are either taken on the wing or collected from the foliage or from the ground. They also eat nectar.

Dusky woodswallows breed in August-January. The nest is a loose bowl of twigs, grass and roots, lined with fine grasses, and it is placed in a tree fork, behind bark, in a stump hollow or in a fence post, usually 1-10 m above the ground. The female lays 3-4 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 16 days. The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge 20 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to the clearance of native vegetation for agriculture, but it is not threatened at present.

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