Dusky Woodswallow

Artamus cyanopterus

(Birds of Drouin booklet P44)


Size: 170-180mm

Sexes are similar. Extensive dark brown plumage, blue-steel grey wings with a white edge. Blue-grey bill tipped black. White underwings contrast with the brown body in flight. Juveniles are similar to adults but heavily streaked grey.


A strident, repeated ‘zweeet’ in flight. Some soft ‘vut-vut’ and other sounds when perching.  

credit: xeno-canto.org


Map credit: ala.org.au

Much of the eastern and southern parts of the country, plus Tasmania. Absent in arid regions.


Dusky Woodswallows build a frail nest of sticks in a shrub, against the trunk of a tree on a horizontal branch, behind a peeling piece of bark or even in an old fence post, etc. They breed in spring.


Dusky Woodswallows are summer migrants to Baw Baw. They prefer grassy, open woodland habitat where they soar effortlessly to catch insects on the wing. They are nearly always present in small flocks and at night, Dusky Woodswallows roost communally.