Photo by Ian_M
Bukuya village, Viti Levu, Fiji
, June 2002
- Artamus mentalis
17cm. Unmistakeable on Fiji:
- Black head to chin, upperparts (except white rump and uppertail-coverts) and wings
- Black tail with white tip
- White underparts extending up over lower throat onto central ear-coverts
- Dark brown eye
- Pale blue-grey bill with black tip
Sexes similar. Juveniles are similar to adults but have paler feather edgings above.
 Similar species
White-breasted Woodswallow has a black lower throat and black central ear-coverts. Ranges don't overlap.
Endemic to Fiji where found on Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Gau.
Locally common in its range but seems to have disappeared from many islands in the last 100 years (like Koro, Makogai, Kadavu and others).
By some considered a subspecies of White-breasted Woodswallow.
May belong to a superspecies with White-breasted Woodswallow, White-backed Woodswallow, Ivory-backed Woodswallow and Great Woodswallow.
Open areas, including savanna and cultivation, also in urban habitats.
Seen most often perching upright on cables and small branches of trees.
A fast and agile flier catching insects on the wing. Takes its prey back to perch, holds it under onf foot and pulls it to pieces.
They tend to live in small intimate groups and have been observed breeding and feeding young communally. They can be quite agressive. Breeding season is from August to November. The nest is build by all group members and is cup-shaped and placed in the tree canopy or in a hollow in a cliff. Lays 2 or 3 eggs.
A resident species with some local wanderings. Groups can stay in and around the tree where the roost and nest for several years.
- Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
- Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
- BF Member observations
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