Only slightly crested. Male has two bold white facial stripes contrasting with glossy black cap and black face, with lower ear coverts variably dark chesnut, rest of body blue-grey, paler below, with usually white central belly, to undertaail coverts. Females differ only in having dark blackish-green ear-coverts. Juvenile head and body feathers complexly zoned black, rufous, buff and white, generally black-based dorsally and anteriorly, with cream rufous forehead, lateral coronal band and mallar stripes, and with rear underparts cream based. Races differ mainly in size and in body colour.
28-31 cm, 56-79 g
- Cypselus mystaceus Lesson, 1827, Dorey, Vogelkop, Irian Jaya. Six subspecies recognized. (source: Handbook of the Birds of World)
Subspecies and Distribution:
- * confirmata Stresemann, 1914 - Moluccas (excluding Kai and Sula groups) to Aru Is. * mystacea (Lesson, 1827) - New Guinea mainland; islands of Geelvink Bay and W Papuan Is. * aeroplanes Stresemann, 1921 - Bismarck Archipelago (excluding Admiralty Is and Feni Is). * macrura Salomonsen, 1983 - Admiralty Is. * woodfordiana (Hartert, 1896) - Feni Is and most of Solomon Is (including Bougainville). * carbonaria Salomonsen, 1983 - Bauro I (Solomons).
High emergent crowns in mangroves and beach-stand, scattered trees and groves, and edge of inland forest. From sea-level to 1580 m.
Takes fyling arthropods, including bees, ants, hemipteran bug and beetles, in length range 6-18 mm.
Active nest recordedn in all months except Mar, season locally variable, can be long. Pairs belived to be teritorial, at least around the nest-site. Nest a tiny saucer of feathers and plant material incomporated in hardened saliva, fixed on high horizontal branch.