Dusky woodswallow

Artamus cyanopterus taxonomy

Artamus cyanoptera Latham, 1801, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Two subspecies.

other common names

French: Langrayen sordide; German: Russchwalbenstar; Spanish: Golondrina del Bosque Ahumada.

physical characteristics

6.7-7.1 in (17-18 cm); 1.1-1.6 oz (31-46 g). Smoky-brown body, dark gray wings and tail; wings edged in white, distinctive white spots at end of tail. Underwings silvery.


Australian endemic. A. c. perthi is resident in southwest Australia. A. c. cyanopterus is found in eastern South Australia up to southern Queensland, including Tasmania, but migrates north in winter.


Found in eucalypt forests and woodlands, along water courses, and over natural clearings. Tend to prefer rural areas, and wetter habitat than most woodswallows.


Tends to live in small groups of several dozen birds. Social and gregarious, often roosting in a cluster in a tree hollow. Birds often perch close together while resting during the day. Chattering contact call, harsh mobbing call.

feeding ecology and diet

Primarily an aerial feeder. Will also glean foliage, take ground insects and occasionally nectar.

reproductive biology

Both parents build the flimsy cup nest of plant fibers. Nests are built in loose colonies, with territory around the nest defended. May be cooperative breeders, with helpers at the nest. Clutch is three to four blotched white eggs. Incubation is for 16 days, and fledging occurs 16-20 days after hatching.

conservation status

Not threatened.

significance to humans None known. ♦

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