Family Woodswallows and Butcherbirds (Artamidae)

Least Concern

Little Woodswallow (Artamus minor)


French: Petit Langrayen German: Zwergschwalbenstar Spanish: Artamo chico

Artamus minor


, 1817,

Shark Bay, Western Australia


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. m. derbyi Mathews, 1912 – N & E Australia (S, in E, to N New South Wales and E South Australia).
  • A. m. minor Vieillot, 1817 – Western Australia (Pilbara and Murchison regions) E to ranges of S Northern Territory and NW South Australia.
  • Descriptive notes

    12 cm; 13·1–20·9 g. Nominate race is dark chocolate-brown above and below, becoming dark grey on rump and grey-black on uppertail-coverts, with deep... read more


    Vocalizes less frequently than other members of family. Brisk "peet-peet" (1–4... read more


    Open scrublands, rocky hills, cliffs and breakaways; also open woodland. Associated mainly with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insects; nectar taken occasionally. Captures prey generally in flight; occasionally among foliage or flowers, or on ground. Forages... read more


    Not well known. Eggs recorded Sept–Jan. Occasional co-operative breeding, with one or two helpers. Nest, built by both sexes, a... read more


    Not well known. Probably resident in some areas, e.g. parts of Western Australia; also partly... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common locally throughout range. May have benefited in some areas from increase in available habitat following clearance for agriculture.

    Recommended citation

    Rowley, I. & Russell, E. (2019). Little Woodswallow (Artamus minor). 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 21 May 2019).