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22

Masked Woodswallow

(Artamus personatus)
Alternate name(s): "Blue-bird", "Bush Martin", "Blue Martin", "Skimmer*"
Aboriginal name(s): "djilbong" (WA)

Size: 19-20 cm
Weight: 26-41 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Masked Woodswallow at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

MALE

Close-up frontal view of a male Masked Woodswallow (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Durikai SF, near Warwick, QLD, September 2017]

Frontal/ventral view of a male Masked Woodswallow
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2018]

Frontal view of a male Masked Woodswallow stretching a wing
[Near Hungerford, QLD, September 2012]

Lateral view of a male Masked Woodswallow perched in an Acacia salicina tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2015]

Lateral view of a male Masked Woodswallow in flight seen in a mixed flock with White-browed Woodswallows

Ventral view of a male Masked Woodswallow in flight
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2015]

Comparison of a male Masked Woodswallow (lower right) with a female White-browed Woodswallow
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2015]

Pair of Masked Woodswallows perched in an Acacia salicina: Male on the left, female on the right
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

FEMALE

Pair of Masked Woodswallows in a dead tree; the male is on the left, the female on the right
[Near Hungerford, QLD, September 2012]

Frontal view of a female Masked Woodswallow
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2018]

Frontal view of a female Masked Woodswallow stretching a wing
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2018]

Near-frontal/ventral view of a female Masked Woodswallow
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a female Masked Woodswallow
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

Near-lateral view of a female Masked Woodswallow preening in a Acacia salicina tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

Near-lateral view of a female Masked Woodswallow (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, November 2018]

Lateral view of a female Masked Woodswallow perched in a Acacia salicina tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

Lateral view of a female Masked Woodswallow in flight seen in a mixed flock with White-browed Woodswallows
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2015]

Cutout from a larger photo of a mixed flock of Masked Woodswallows and White-browed Woodswallows; click on image to see the full field-of-view (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Hybrid Masked/White-browed Woodswallow(?)

Frontal view of a possible hybrid between Masked Woodswallow and White-browed Woodswallow
(photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Oolambeyan NP, near Hay, NSW, November 2012]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Nomadic Elementary unit: Flock

Masked Woodswallows usually come in mixed flocks with White-browed Woodswallows.

Mixed flock of Masked Woodswallows and White-browed Woodswallows perched in a group of Acacia salicina
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

All four possible morphologies of adult Masked Woodswallows and White-browed Woodswallows seen together: Male Masked Woodswallow, left and female Masked Woodswallow, right, with a pair of White-browed Woodswallows in between; male at the top, female below
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

Here some Masked Woodswallow TLC: Male on the left, female on the right
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

Male Masked Woodswallow, bottom right, with a pair of White-browed Woodswallows
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2018]

Food, Diet

Adults: Small insects Dependents: As adults Water intake: Daily(?)

Like all members of the Artamus family known to us, Masked Woodswallows hunt small insects which they devour in-flight. We have also seen them feed on nectar (see below).

Part of a mixed flock of (both adult and juvenile) White-browed Woodswallows and Masked Woodswallows seen by us descending onto (and foraging on?) a dry paddock shortly after rainfall
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2014]

Male Masked Woodswallow taking nectar from a Grevillea robusta (note the pollen around the base of the bill)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

Female Masked Woodswallow taking nectar from a Grevillea robusta (note the pollen around the base of the bill)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

Male Masked Woodswallow and female White-browed Woodswallow in a Grevillea robusta
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

Masked Woodswallows and White-browed Woodswallows festing on nectar low in a in a Grevillea robusta
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

in a Grevillea robusta with a flock of Masked Woodswallows and White-browed Woodswallows festing on its nectar (click on image for high-resolution version to see the many individual birds)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2018]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

mskswal_20150916.mp3 (NW NSW) Contact calls (perched) © MD
mskswal_20150916_3.mp3 (NW NSW) Warning/departure © MD
mskswal_20150916_2.mp3 (NW NSW) Various © MD
mixwood_20150916.mp3 (NW NSW) Mixed flock with White-browed Woodswallows © MD
mixwood_20180908_1.m4a (NW NSW) Large mixed flock with White-browed Woodswallows © MD
mixwood_20180908_2.m4a (NW NSW) Large mixed flock with White-browed Woodswallows © MD

We have recorded the calls of a mixed flock of ca. 200 Masked Woodswallows and White-browed Woodswallows raiding a flowering Grevillea robusta ("Silky Oak") tree.

woodsw_20181029.m4a (NW NSW) Flock feeding on nectar © MD
woodsw_20181029_2.m4a (NW NSW) Flock feeding on nectar © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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