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Fiji Woodswallow (Artamus mentalis) | by weedmandan
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Fiji Woodswallow (Artamus mentalis)

I enjoyed watching a pair of these woodswallows on the Fijian island of Viti Levu catching insects over a mangrove pond and resting in the nearby banana trees - they had it made!


The Fiji Woodswallow is endemic to the major islands of Fiji, namely Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni. It is absent from the fourth largest island, Kadavu, but is present on smaller Gau in the Lomaiviti Archipelago. Its natural habitat is tropical moist lowland forests and savannahs, but it has adjusted to human-altered habitats and also lives in cultivated areas; there are even urban populations in Suva and Nadi. In Viti Levu it is found in the highlands, but not on the highlands of Taveuni.


Unlike the nomadic populations of Australian White-breasted Woodswallows, the Fiji Woodswallow is sedentary. Family groups will occupy a tree in which they roost and nest in over several years. It is thought that this is because the climatic conditions in Fiji are less extreme.

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Taken on December 1, 2012