Family Woodswallows and Butcherbirds (Artamidae)

Least Concern

Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus)


French: Langrayen sordide German: Rußschwalbenstar Spanish: Artamo sombrío

L[oxia]. cyanoptera


, 1801,

New Holland = Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Races differ weakly; they intergrade in S South Australia (Eyre Peninsula region). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. cyanopterus (Latham, 1801) – E, CS & SE Australia, including Kangaroo I (South Australia), islands in Bass Strait (King I, Flinders I) and Tasmania.
  • A. c. perthi (Mathews, 1915) – SW Australia E to S South Australia (Eyre Peninsula).
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; 21–47 g. Nominate race is mostly smoky grey-brown above and below; upperwing gunmetal-grey, white streak on outer web of outer 2–4 long primaries; tail... read more


    Contact call a brisk "peet-peet", in flight or when perched; also brassy chirps or... read more


    Open forest, woodlands and agricultural areas receiving more than 400 mm annual rainfall.

    Food and feeding

    Mostly insects; nectar and fruit, also some seeds, occasionally taken. Captures animal prey usually on the wing while trawling above canopy... read more


    Season Aug–Feb (mainly Oct–Dec), in austral spring. Nests usually as simple pair; sometimes breeds co-operatively, with one or... read more


    General movement N during autumn-winter. Leaves Tasmania in Apr, migrants reaching N as far as... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common locally throughout its range. May have benefited from increase in available habitat following clearance for agriculture; such clearing,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rowley, I. & Russell, E. (2019). Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 May 2019).