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Masked Woodswallow - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Pearly_Shells
Gluepot Reserve, South Australia, October 2004
Artamus personatus


18 - 20cm. A sexually dimorphic Woodswallow:


  • Black face and throat boardered at rear by white crescent
  • Grey crown, upperparts and tail (tipped white)
  • White or whitish underparts
  • Dark brown eye
  • Pale blue-grey bill with black tip


Photo © by Mike Bouette
Eyre Bird Observatory, Australia, October 2006
  • Similar to male but duller and with browner tinge
  • Indistinct pale crescent behind facial mask
  • Washed brownish underparts

Juveniles are similar to females but much duller and whitish streaked and spotted above.


Endemic to Australia. Absent from the extreme north, the east and southeast coast and Tasmania. Vagrants recorded in Tasmania and New Zealand.
Widespread and common but can be locally irregular in its range.


Most closely related to White-browed Woodswallow.


Shrubland, open woodland and adjacent farmland.


Feeds mainly on insects, adults take also nectar. Prey taken mostly on wing.
Usually seen in pairs or small groups, during migration in bigger flocks.
Breeding season from July to March. Nests solitary or in loose colonies, in east of range sometimes in mixed colonies with White-browed Woodswallow. The nest is a shallow cup made of twigs, grass and rootlets. It's placed in a tree fork or in the end of a hollow limb or stump. Lays 2 - 3 eggs.
A highly nomadic species.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  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. Simpson, K and N Day. 1998. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-4877-5

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