Dusky Woodswallow

Quick Facts

Length: 18 cm
Height: -
Weight: 35 grams
Colour: Deep brown to grey. Wings are dark blue grey edged white. Black tail. Blue bill tipped black
Habitat: Open forests and woodlands.
Food: Insects and flower nectar
Predators: -
Status: Not Present in NT. Secure in all other states and territories in Australia

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.

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 being much smaller (12 cm), darker and lacking the wing patch.

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.

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

Nomadic; south-eastern population migrates north in autumn.

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.

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.

Author: Rosalyn Plunkett
Last Updated: Thursday 9th January, 2014


Signup for our monthly newsletter the "e-Telegraph"