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Black-faced Woodswallow - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Grey Woodswallow; Grey-breasted Woodswallow; White-bellied Woodswallow; White-vented Woodswallow (normani and dealbatus)

Photo © by Ken Doy
Outback, Queensland, Australia, June 2016
Artamus cinereus


Photo © by The Magpie
Western Australia
Photo © by peterday
Karoona Conservation Park South Australia Feb 2021


  • Grey-brown above
  • Black face around base of bill and eyes
  • Light grey underparts
  • Black tail feathers tipped white
  • Bluish bill tipped black
  • Black undertail in nominate
  • Normani and dealbatus with white vent and undertail-coverts (not black)

Sexes similar. Juveniles are mainly brown, with extensive streaking, buff-brown underparts, pale brown bill.


Australia, New Guinea, Lesser Sundas, including Timor.
Widespread and locally common.


Photo © by The Bosun
Aldinga, South Australia, April 2011


There are 5 subspecies[1]. The geographical variations of this species are complex and not yet fully understood.

  • A. c. normani:
  • Northern Queensland (south-eastern Cape York Peninsula)
  • A. c. dealbatus:
  • Eastern Queensland (Burdekin River to Burnett River)
  • A. c. melanops:
  • A. c. cinereus:
  • A. c. perspicillatus:

An additional subspecies albiventris is generally considered invald[1]


Open country, open woodlands, around lakes and wetlands.



The diet includes aerial insects, also some nectar is consumed.
Forages singly or in pairs, also in small groups. Often seen in mixed-species flocks.


Co-operative nesters. The nest is formed by twigs placed low in a small tree, stump or artificial structure. Lays 1 - 5 eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  3. Avibase
  4. Birds in Backyards

Recommended Citation

External Links

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