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White-browed Woodswallow

From Opus

MalePhoto © by GallusVictoria, Australia
Male
Photo © by Gallus
Victoria, Australia
Artamus superciliosus

Contents

[edit] Identification

18 - 19cm. A sexually dimorphic Woodswallow:

[edit] Male

  • Dark grey above and dark grey from chin to upper breast
  • Distinct clear white eyebrow
  • White tipped tail
  • Dark rufous underparts below breast
  • Dark brown eye
  • Pale blue-grey bill with black tip

[edit] Female

FemalePhoto © by NoraHarkness Rd, Melton, Victoria, Australia, December 2008
Female
Photo © by Nora
Harkness Rd, Melton, Victoria, Australia, December 2008
  • Generally duller and paler than male
  • Brownish wash above
  • Less conspicuous eyebrow
  • Much paler underparts below breast

Juveniles are duller and browner than adults and are whitish spotted and streaked above and below.

[edit] Distribution

Found in central and inland eastern Australia. Irregular in other parts of the continent. Has bred in Tasmania and possibly in New Zealand.
Locally common but irregularly.

[edit] Taxonomy

Monotypic.
Most closely related to Masked Woodswallow.

[edit] Habitat

Eucalypt forests and woodlands, dry heaths, spinifex, farmlands, orchards and sometimes towns.

[edit] Behaviour

Feeds mainly on insects, takes sometimes also nectar. Nestlings are fed with grasshoppers, cicadas and large flying insects. Catches prey on wing, usually starting from a perch. Sometimes pounces on visible prey.
Usually seen in pairs or small groups, during migration in bigger flocks.
Breeds mainly from September to December, solitary or more often in loose colonies, sometimes in mixed colonies with Masked Woodswallow. A loose shallow nest is built from twigs, grasses and roots, and placed in a tree fork, hollow stump or fence post, about 1 m to 6 m above the ground. 2-3 eggs are laid. Both sexes build the nest, incubate the eggs and feed the young. Colonies are sometimes suddenly abandoned because of food shortage.
Highly nomadic.

[edit] References

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. Simpson, K and N Day. 1998. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-4877-5

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