Australian Bush Birds
White Browed Woodswallow  -  Artamus superciliosus
White Browed Woodswallow
White-browed Woodswallow . This male has the chestnut underside from throat to tail. The female is paler in colour.
White Browed woodswallows on branch
White-browed Woodswallow .
White-browed Woodswallow - Artamus superciliosus - males are uniformly deep bluish grey from head to tail, including the crown. There is a broad white stripe over the eye and a small black mask from behind the running forward to the base of the bill. Bill is pale blue with dark blue-grey tip. Underwing is white, the tail is tipped white underneath and above. Throat is the same deep bluish-grey as the back. Underneath is a uniform deep chestnut from below the throat to the white tail tip. 19 to 20 centimetres.

White-browed Woodswallow - page 2
Male and female are slightly different in appearance. Females have similar colouring to males but are duller and paler in colour sometimes with with a finer white brow.

Immature birds have upper parts grey finely speckled with cream-white continuing onto the wings. Bill is brownish.

map map Found in open eucalyptus and acacia woodland of inland eastern Australia. Rarely seen east of the Great Dividing Range or west of Alice Springs. Highly nomadic; extends into Victoria in times of drought inland. White Browed Woodswallows travel in flocks of several hundred or more through the wooded inland of eastern Australia generally moving north in autumn to winter quarters in central Queensland and the Northern Territory. In spring flocks shift south to breed, regularly reaching the Eyre Peninsula and sometimes Tasmania. Seasonal conditions have a strong impact on the southerly migration. Throughout their range flocks of White-browed Woodswallowa mix with varying numbers of Masked Woodswallows; The species nest together but with little hybridisation.

White-browed Woodswallows eat mainly insects caught on the wing. Feeding flocks usually fly high with birds fluttering and wheeling, chirruping in contact, catching and eating insects on the wing. Prey is caught with beak and claws. The birds stay aloft hunting insects for hours then suddenly dive down to feed on blossom and glean insects in the crown of a tree, often hanging upside down to do so. Their short, brush-tipped tongues may help feeding on nectar. After feeding in this way for a while the flock may suddenly take off.

At night they wait until it is almost dark to roost in foliage clustered near each other, but not touching.

Breeds mainly from August to January. The nest is a shallow bowl of twigs, grass stems and rootlets in the fork in a shrub or small tree up to 3 metres above the ground but usually lower. The nest may be built on a stump or fence post. Nests are usually in loose colonies of ten or more; nests are built close together in every available branch fork and post hole. Both sexes build the nest in a few days; both incubate and rear the young.

 ¶  Genus Artamus is in Family Artamidae with Butcherbirds, Magpie, Currawongs and other other Woodswallows.

 ¶  The White-browed Woodswallow can be distinguished from other woodswallows by the prominent white eyebrow, the small black mask around the eye and the uniform chestnut underside, especially of the male.