Ryan Photographic - Artamidae - Australian magpies and wood swallows
The family Artamidae is represented by 24 species in six genera. The family is restricted to Australasia where they are typically common. The Australian magpie has been successfully introduced into New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Fiji. In New Zealand it is considered a pest species. In Fiji it is restricted to the island of Taveuni and has not yet self-introduced to Vanua Levu which is only a short distance away over the Somosomo Strait. They do not appear to be a problem in the Solomon Islands.
Some wood swallows possess "powder down". The tips of the barbules on some feathers become powdery, breaking down into a keratin powder which the bird uses when preening. In addition wood swallows may exhibit cooperative breeding in which fledged youngsters may stic around to help raise future generations.
Some artamids, particularly the Australian magpie are accomplished mimics and singers.
Artamus cyanopterus, Dusky woodswallow
Artamus cyanopterus, Dusky woodswallows on branch, Northern Territory, Australia
Artamus mentalis Fijian woodswallow
Artamus mentalis Fijian woodswallow, Yaqara, Viti Levu, Fiji
Cracticus tibicen, Australian magpie
Cracticus tibicen, Australian magpie, Taveuni, Fiji
Cracticus tibicen, juvenile Australian magpie, Brisbane IMG_2564