Artamidae – Woodswallows, Butcherbirds and allies

Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus) by Ian

Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah (Psalms 84:3-4 NKJV)


CLASS – AVES, Order – PASSERIFORMES, Family – Artamidae – Woodswallows,  Butcherbirds and allies


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Latest I.O.C. Version
Species (24)

Ashy Woodswallow (Artamus fuscus)
White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus)
Fiji Woodswallow (Artamus mentalis)
Ivory-backed Woodswallow (Artamus monachus)
Great Woodswallow (Artamus maximus)
White-backed Woodswallow (Artamus insignis)
Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus)
White-browed Woodswallow (Artamus superciliosus)
Black-faced Woodswallow (Artamus cinereus)
Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus)
Little Woodswallow (Artamus minor)
Lowland Peltops (Peltops blainvillii)
Mountain Peltops (Peltops montanus)
Black Butcherbird (Melloria quoyi)
Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen)
Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus)
Silver-backed Butcherbird (Cracticus argenteus)
Black-backed Butcherbird (Cracticus mentalis)
Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis)
Hooded Butcherbird (Cracticus cassicus)
Tagula Butcherbird (Cracticus louisiadensis)
Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina)
Black Currawong (Strepera fuliginosa)
Grey Currawong (Strepera versicolor)

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On the photos or slides, a “by” indicates one of the photographers or videographers, who have given their permission, with links on our sidebar. Please visit their sight to see many more fantastic shots, a “©©” copyright symbol indicates a photo from Creative Commons and ©WikiC is a Creative Commons photo from Wikipedia. “†” indicates the bird is extinct. *LLABS* means it is on Our Life List of All Birds Seen.

Photographers or Videographers used on this page from our sidebar, Photography, are:
Ian Montgomery’s Birdway
Keith Blomerley – Videographer
Nick Talbot – Videographer
Tom Tarrant’s Aveceda


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Woodswallows are soft-plumaged, somber-coloured passerine birds. There is a single genus, Artamus, The woodswallows are either treated as a subfamily, Artaminae in an expanded family Artamidae, which includes the butcherbirds and Australian Magpie, or as the only genus in that family. The generic name, which in turn gives rise to the family name, is derived from the Ancient Greek artamos, meaning butcher or murder. The name was given due to their perceived similarity to shrikes, indeed a former common name for the group was “swallow-starlings”

Woodswallows are smooth, agile flyers with moderately large, semi-triangular wings. They are among the very few passerines birds that soar, and can often be seen feeding just above the treetops. One sedentary species aside, they are nomads, following the best conditions for flying insects, and often roosting in large flocks.
Although woodswallows have a brush-tipped tongue they seldom use it for gathering nectar. (Wikipedia)

Some of the Family – Photos are Alphabetical down the columns:


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