Nature conservation

Threatened species

Dusky Woodswallow - profile

Indicative distribution


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Key:
known
predicted
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Artamus cyanopterus cyanopterus
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 05 Aug 2016
Profile last updated: 01 Dec 2017

Description

The dusky woodswallow is a medium-sized bird (16-19.5 cm, 35 g), with a longish tail. Mostly dark grey-brown, merging to blackish on the tail, with a small black-brown mask. Bluish bill with a black tip. Upper-wings are a dark blue-grey with a white leading edge. Conspicuous white corners on the tail. In flight the dark grey-brown under-body contrasts with the whitish under-wing. Juveniles may be distinguished by white streaking on the body and whitish tips on wing feathers. Immature individuals are similar to adults but retain pale-tipped wing feathers. No seasonal variation in appearance is evident, and sexes are alike. Calls consist of brassy chirps, chirups, a soft low 'vut vut' and a brisk 'peet peet'. Also known to mimic other birds, including the rufous whistler and grey shrike-thrush. 

Distribution

Dusky woodswallows are widespread in eastern, southern and south western Australia. The species occurs throughout most of New South Wales, but is sparsely scattered in, or largely absent from, much of the upper western region. Most breeding activity occurs on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range.

Habitat and ecology

  • Primarily inhabit dry, open eucalypt forests and woodlands, including mallee associations, with an open or sparse understorey of eucalypt saplings, acacias and other shrubs, and ground-cover of grasses or sedges and fallen woody debris. It has also been recorded in shrublands, heathlands and very occasionally in moist forest or rainforest. Also found in farmland, usually at the edges of forest or woodland.
  • Primarily eats invertebrates, mainly insects, which are captured whilst hovering or sallying above the canopy or over water. Also frequently hovers, sallies and pounces under the canopy, primarily over leaf litter and dead timber. Also occasionally take nectar, fruit and seed.
  • Depending on location and local climatic conditions (primarily temperature and rainfall), the dusky woodswallow can be resident year round or migratory. In NSW, after breeding, birds migrate to the north of the state and to southeastern Queensland, while Tasmanian birds migrate to southeastern NSW after breeding. Migrants generally depart between March and May, heading south to breed again in spring. There is some evidence of site fidelity for breeding. Although dusky woodswallows generally breed as solitary pairs or occasionally in small flocks, large flocks may form around abundant food sources in winter. Large flocks may also form before migration, which is often undertaken with other species.
  • Nest is an open, cup-shape, made of twigs, grass, fibrous rootlets and occasionally casuarina needles, and may be lined with grass, rootlets or infrequently horsehair, occasionally unlined. Nest sites vary greatly, but generally occur in shrubs or low trees, living or dead, horizontal or upright forks in branches, spouts, hollow stumps or logs, behind loose bark or in a hollow in the top of a wooden fence post. Nest sites may be exposed or well concealed by foliage.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Threats

Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Australian AlpsSnowy Mountains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthInglewood Sandstones Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Range Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthMoonie-Barwon Interfluve Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthNarrandool Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Basalts Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Outwash Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Outwash Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthTalbragar Valley Known None
Broken Hill ComplexBarrier Range Known None
Broken Hill ComplexBarrier Range Outwash Known None
Broken Hill ComplexMootwingee Downs Known None
Broken Hill ComplexScopes Range Predicted None
Channel CountryBulloo Predicted None
Channel CountryBulloo Dunefields Predicted None
Channel CountryCentral Depression Predicted None
Channel CountryCore Ranges Predicted None
Channel CountrySturt Stony Desert Known None
Cobar PeneplainBarnato Downs Known None
Cobar PeneplainBoorindal Plains Known None
Cobar PeneplainCanbelego Downs Known None
Cobar PeneplainLachlan Plains Known None
Cobar PeneplainNymagee Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsBogan-Macquarie Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCastlereagh-Barwon Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCulgoa-Bokhara Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsGreat Darling Anabranch Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsLouth Plains Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsMenindee Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsPooncarie-Darling Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsWarrambool-Moonie Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsWilcannia Plains Known None
Mulga LandsCuttaburra-Paroo Known None
Mulga LandsKerribree Basin Predicted None
Mulga LandsNebine Plains Known None
Mulga LandsParoo Overflow Predicted None
Mulga LandsParoo-Darling Sands Predicted None
Mulga LandsUrisino Sandplains Predicted N
Mulga LandsWarrego Plains Known None
Mulga LandsWarrego Sands Known None
Mulga LandsWest Warrego Predicted None
Mulga LandsWhite Cliffs Plateau Predicted N
Murray Darling DepressionBraemer Predicted None
Murray Darling DepressionDarling Depression Known None
Murray Darling DepressionMurray Mallee Predicted None
Murray Darling DepressionSouth Olary Plain Known None
NandewarInverell Basalts Known None
NandewarKaputar Known None
NandewarNandewar Northern Complex Known None
NandewarPeel Known None
New England TablelandsArmidale Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsBeardy River Hills Predicted None
New England TablelandsBinghi Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsBundarra Downs Known None
New England TablelandsDeepwater Downs Known None
New England TablelandsEastern Nandewars Known None
New England TablelandsEbor Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsMoredun Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsNightcap Known None
New England TablelandsNortheast Forest Lands Known None
New England TablelandsRound Mountain Known None
New England TablelandsSevern River Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsStanthorpe Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsTenterfield Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsTingha Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWalcha Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWongwibinda Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsYarrowyck-Kentucky Downs Known None
NSW North CoastBarrington Known None
NSW North CoastCarrai Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastCataract Known None
NSW North CoastChaelundi Known None
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastComboyne Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
NSW North CoastEllerston Known None
NSW North CoastGuy Fawkes Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Gorges Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastMummel Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastRocky River Gorge Known None
NSW North CoastTomalla Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Manning Known None
NSW North CoastWashpool Known None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Known None
NSW South Western SlopesCapertee Valley Known None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known None
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Known None
OceanBatemans Shelf Known None
OceanHawkesbury Shelf Known None
OceanTweed-Moreton Known None
OceanTwofold Shelf Known None
Ocean - Other StateSouthern Australian Coastal Waters Known None
Other StateACT Known None
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Predicted None
Other StateQLD Known None
Other StateSA Known None
Other StateTAS Predicted None
Other StateVIC Known None
RiverinaLachlan Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known None
RiverinaMurray Scroll Belt Known None
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Known None
RiverinaRobinvale Plains Known None
Simpson Strzelecki DunefieldsStrzelecki Desert Predicted None
South East CornerBateman Known None
South East CornerEast Gippsland Lowlands Known None
South East CornerSouth East Coastal Ranges Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBondo Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBungonia Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCapertee Uplands Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCrookwell Known None
South Eastern HighlandsHighlands-Northern Fall Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsHill End Known None
South Eastern HighlandsKanangra Known None
South Eastern HighlandsKybeyan-Gourock Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMurrumbateman Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOberon Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOrange Known None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinBurragorang Known None
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinEttrema Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Known None
Sydney BasinKerrabee Known None
Sydney BasinMoss Vale Known None
Sydney BasinPittwater Known None
Sydney BasinSydney Cataract Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Known None