Family Woodswallows and Butcherbirds (Artamidae)

Least Concern

Ivory-backed Woodswallow (Artamus monachus)


French: Langrayen à tête noire German: Weißrücken-Schwalbenstar Spanish: Artamo cabecinegro

Artamus monachus


, 1850,



Superficially similar to geographically remote A. insignis, but differs in its milky-brown vs blackish hood (3), metallic grey vs blackish wings (2) and short white uppertail-coverts (in insignis these coverts are long and cover far more of the tail: 2). Birds of Sula Is previously separated as race sulaensis, but insufficiently distinct, merely averaging slightly smaller#R. Monotypic.


Sulawesi, Lembeh, Togian Is#R, Banggai Is, Butung I#R and Sula Archipelago.

Descriptive notes

19–20 cm. Most of plumage is white, with brownish-grey head and throat, black lores and chin, blackish-grey wing and tail; iris dark brown; bill pale blue-grey, tip... read more


A series of monosyllabic notes, more metallic and penetrating than those of A. leucoryn;... read more


Forest, forest edges and openings, at 200–2000 m. Favours more heavily wooded areas than... read more

Food and feeding

Insects. Soars and hawks above canopy of unbroken forest; perches at edge of small forest clearings, making short sallies. In pairs, in... read more


One active nest in late Jul; situated c. 15 m up tree, at base of large epiphyte; a second nest recorded also in late Jul. No other... read more


No information.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widely but patchily distributed in Sulawesi; generally uncommon but locally common at lower elevations. Less numerous than sympatric A. leucoryn... read more

Recommended citation

Rowley, I., Russell, E. & Bonan, A. (2020). Ivory-backed Woodswallow (Artamus monachus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).