Possible White-browed/Masked woodswallow hybrid

To: birding-aus <>,
Subject: Possible White-browed/Masked woodswallow hybrid
From: Nathan <>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 22:14:06 +1100
It seems that in this case HANZAB hasn't really looked as deep as possible,
the Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World (cite) lists the two as "CAONHR
[Captive and ongoing natural hybridization reported]", however the only
notes that are added on its appearance were: "One reported hybrid looked
exactly like a Masked Wood-swallow, except it had a broad white eyebrow."
The references it cites are:
 - Avicultural Magazine 1964 (p. 188),
                       ---------- 1965 (pp. 116–117)
 - Barnard, H. G. 1944. Hybrid Wood-Swallows. The Emu, 44: 154;
 - Boehm, E. F. 1974. Hybridism in wood-swallows. South Australian
Ornithologist, 26; 167;
 - McGill, A. R. 1944. Hybridism in wood-swallows.The Emu, 44: 153–154;
 - North, A. J. 1909a. Hybrid Wood-Swallow. The Emu, 8: 224,
          ---------1909b. [On a hybrid Wood-Swallow]. Proceedings of the
Linnean Society of New South Wales, 33: 735.
 - Sharland, M. 1972. The lure of wood-swallows. Australian Bird Watcher,
4: 213–219.

The two 1944 Emu notes are available at

McGill, as previously mentioned, refers to a diary kept regarding a mated
pair, along with a 1909 reference to North's writing in Emu and the Linnean
Society of NSW. The article describes this bird's appearance as: "It
resembles A. superciliosus on the upper parts, has the forehead, lores,
cheeks, ear coverts, and throat black, passing into blackish-grey on the
fore-neck; remainder of under surfaces ashy-grey with slight vinous wash;
under tail coverts pale ashy-grey; over and behind the eye a distinct white
eyebrow, but not extending so far onto the side of the crown as in A.
superciliosus." which sounds a lot like a slightly less extreme version of
Graeme Chapman's photograph.
PDF copies of these articles are available at (Notes and Notices) and though the descriptions are
I cannot find an online copy of the Avicultural Magazine, though if you
have a spare $9,000 it seems like an interesting buy from Andrew Isles.
Boehm says "A hybrid Wood-Swallow which strongly resembled a male A.
superciliosus but without the eyebrow, and having a black mask like A.
personatus was mist-netted, banded, and weighed east of Sutherlands, S.A.,
on 8 Oct., 1972. The mask was margined with rufous instead of the usual
white margin. Weight of the bird was 38 grammes." This article in full is
available from
Finally, since the merging of BOCA and Birds Austrlalia I have been unable
to find or access the archives of Australian Field Ornithology (previously
the Australian Birdwatcher) so I cannot offer any insight into what Mr.
Sharland had to say.

The upshot of all of this seems that hybrids between these birds have been
reported fairly often, a lot more than lots of species, however it is
surprising that there are so few offspring in the two species that are so
closely aligned in habits and habitats.

~Nathan Ruser

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