Black-faced Woodswallow – Artamus cinereus Artamidae – Great Southern – Western Australia
These birds are so beautiful, playful and cute! The Black-Faced Woodswallow with Babies ….. sorry about the wind noise!
The Black-faced Woodswallow often associates with other species of woodswallows as well as White-winged and Varied Trillers, but it is their association with Hooded Parrots in the Northern Territory that is especially intriguing. Hooded Parrots almost always forage in the company of Black-faced Woodswallows. The woodswallows are used by the parrots as sentinels to warn of the approach of potential predators, such as Brown, Grey or Red Goshawks, and whenever the woodswallows give their alarm calls, the parrots fly away to safety.
The Black-faced Woodswallow is a smokey grey-brown above with a black face around the base of the bill and the eyes. The underparts are lighter grey with a black undertail in the race cinereus or a white undertail in the race albiventris of north-eastern Queensland. The black tail feathers are tipped white. The bluish bill is tipped black. Young birds are mainly brown, with extensive streaking, the underparts are washed buff-brown and they have a pale brown bill. May be seen in groups, often with other woodswallows, and roosts in tight clusters in trees during storms or sudden cold weather.
The Black-faced Woodswallow is similar to the Dusky Woodswallow, A. cyanopterus, and the Masked Woodswallow, A. personatus. It differs from the Dusky by being paler overall and lacks the white streak along the leading edge of the wing. The Masked Woodswallow has a larger and more defined face mask that extends down the throat to the upper breast, bordered by a white crescent. It also has paler underparts and a pale grey rather than black tail.
The Black-faced Woodswallow is found across mainland Australia, mainly west of the Great Dividing Range in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, and is absent from the far south-western corner of Western Australia.
The Black-faced Woodswallow is found in open country, often far from water, as well as in open woodlands, around lakes and wetlands and in irrigated areas.
The Black-faced Woodswallow feeds on insects. It perches on shrubs, fences and telegraph wires, darting down to catch prey and will often hover. It will also eat nectar. Often feeds in mixed flocks with swifts and swiflets, and also associates with other woodswallows and the White-winged Triller.
Black-faced Woodswallows nest and rear their young co-operatively, often mobbing potential predators. The nests are flimsy constructions of twigs placed low in a small tree, stump or artificial structure