he black-faced woodswallow (Artamus cinereus) is a woodswallow of the genus Artamus native to Australia, New Guinea and the Sunda Islands, including Timor. It is 18–19 cm long and is the most widespread species in the family Artamidae. Woodswallows have a soft call with chiff, chap and chattering calls which can include vocal mimicry
It has a blue-grey beak with a black tip and a black face mask which extends from the base of the bill up to and around the eyes. It has ash grey plumage, which is lighter around the breast with darker wings, and silver underwings. The tail is black with a white tip.
There are four different subspecies of back faced wood swallows. These are differentiated by black or white colouration of their tail vents. The white-vented subspecies A.c. normani and A.c.dealbatus are found on the Cape York Peninsula and northern Queensland respectively. The black-vented A.c. cinereus occurs in south west Australia, while A.c.melanops occurs in northern Australia and Lesser Sunda Islands, including Timor. The sexes are similar in colouration. Juvenile woodswallows have a brown body and wing coloration with buff streaks and a pale yellow beak. The voice is soft with chiff, chap and chattering animated calls which can include vocal mimicry.