Out of context

My favourite book, The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia by Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight, makes the following note in regard to the habitat of the White-breasted Woodswallow.

‘Dead or live trees beside/over rivers, lakes, wetlands, coasts, islands, mangroves, paperbarks, river red gum forests, jetties, channel-piles’.

There is certainly no mention of open plains country, so I was most surprised to encounter a family group along a roadside on the Moolort Plains yesterday. This species is a regular summer breeding visitor to Cairn Curran and nearby reaches of the Loddon River. This is the first time in my memory that I’ve observed them away from the habitat described above.


Juvenile White-breasted Woodswallow, Moolort Plains, 1st February 2015.


Note the spotted upper parts and pale bill of the juvenile.


A better view!


Adult (at left) and juvenile White-breasted Woodswallow.

2 responses to “Out of context

  1. Hi Geoff.

    Today’s post has solved an observation from Sunday night. Just on dusk I was up the paddock with guests looking at kangaroos and noticed about eight swallows like birds variously sitting on the fence then sweeping over the greenish patches of grass in the drainage lines. There are plenty of grasshoppers and other insect life in the grasses.

    Peter s


    • Thanks Peter, I’ve seen White-breasted Woodswallows along Joyce’s Creek towards Plaistow in recent years, associated with the dead trees along the waterway. Good to hear they are still using that area. Where exactly did you observe the birds?
      Cheers, geoff

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