Family Woodswallows and Butcherbirds (Artamidae)

Least Concern

White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucoryn)


French: Langrayen à ventre blanc German: Weißbauch-Schwalbenstar Spanish: Artamo ventriblanco

Lanius leucoryn


, 1771,

Manila, Luzon, Philippines


Sometimes treated as conspecific with A. mentalis (which see). Geographical variation requires clarification, and validity of some races questionable. Proposed races celebensis (Sulawesi) and longipennis (Peleng, Banggai Is) included in albiventer. Specific epithet often written leucorynchus or leucorhynchus, both of which are unjustified emendations; there is no clear evidence that this is an abbreviated form, nor (if it were) is there any certainty as to what the intended “unabbreviated form” might be (e.g. leucorynchos)#R. Nine subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. l. humei Stresemann, 1913 – Coco Is (N of Andamans) and Andaman Is.
  • A. l. leucoryn (Linnaeus, 1771) – Philippines, Sulu Is, Natuna Is, and Borneo (including islands off N coast and Maratua, off E coast).
  • A. l. pelewensis Finsch, 1876 – Palau Is, W of Micronesia.
  • A. l. amydrus Oberholser, 1917 – Sumatra, W Peninsular Malaysia, Bangka I, Java, Masalembu Besar (in E Java Sea), Kangean Is, and Bali.
  • A. l. albiventer (Lesson, 1831) – Sulawesi and satellite islands (including Peleng, Banggai Is), and Lesser Sundas (Lombok to Timor and Wetar).
  • A. l. musschenbroeki A. B. Meyer, 1884 – Babar and Tanimbar Is, in E Lesser Sundas.
  • A. l. leucopygialis Gould, 1842 – Moluccas, New Guinea, Aru Is and N & E Australia.
  • A. l. tenuis Mayr, 1943 – Banks Is and Vanuatu.
  • A. l. melaleucus (Wagler, 1827) – New Caledonia and Loyalty Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    17·5–19·5 cm; 36–49·6 g. Nominate race has head, chin, throat and upperparts dark slate-grey to blackish-grey or dark brownish-grey, except... read more


    Loud, brisk scolding “pirt pirt” or “aerk aerk”, often given in flight;... read more


    Open country with scattered trees, cultivation, light woodland, and mangroves; occasionally in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insectivorous. Prey usually harvested in flight above canopy; perches conspicuously before making aerial sorties. Forages singly or in... read more


    Breeds Mar–May in NW of range, from Mar in Philippines, and Apr–Jun on Java; from Aug to Feb (mainly Sept–Jan), when and... read more


    Resident in much of range. Nomadic locally; some N-S migratory movements in Australia.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common locally throughout most of range; uncommon to fairly common in Coco Is, common in Andamans; rare in upper savannas of main... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rowley, I. & Russell, E. (2020). White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucoryn). 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 23 January 2020).