Dusky Woodswallow

Did you know?

Dusky Woodswallows swivel their tails in a 'tail wag' that is typical of the whole woodswallow group.

Calls
Brassy chirrups and chirps: 'vut vut'; also harsh chattering and some mimicry.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
17cm
Maximum Size: 
18cm
Average size: 
18cm
Average weight: 
35g
Breeding season: 
August to January
Clutch Size: 
3 to 4
Incubation: 
16 days
Nestling Period: 
20 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
QLD: 
SA: 
TAS: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
547
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Dusky Woodswallow is a smoky deep brown to grey bird. The wings are dark blue grey, edged white, the tail is black with a broad white tip and the underwings are silvery-white. The bill is blue tipped black and the eye is dark brown. Young birds are grey-brown, streaked and mottled buff to cream. This species moves in flocks of 10 to 30 birds, which cluster together to roost.

Similar species: 

The Dusky Woodswallow has a distinctive white patch on the outer wing. It tends to be more smoky brown than most of the other woodswallows, with the similarly coloured Little Woodswallow, A. minor, being much smaller (12 cm), darker and lacking the wing patch.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Dusky Woodswallow has 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-west Western Australia.

Habitat: 

The Dusky Woodswallow is found in open forests and woodlands, and may be seen along roadsides and on golf courses.

Seasonal movements: 

Nomadic; south-eastern population migrates north in autumn.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Dusky Woodswallow feeds on insects taken on the wing, as well as from foliage and on the ground. It also eats nectar from flowers.

Breeding: 

The Dusky Woodswallow nests colonially in 'neighbourhoods'. The nest is a loose bowl of twigs, grass and roots, lined with fine grass, and is placed in a tree fork, behind bark, in a stump hollow or in a fence post, about 1 m - 10 m above the ground. Each pair builds the nest, incubates the eggs and feeds the young.

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