A highly nomadic species (2) (4), the masked woodswallow is usually found in parties of up to 20 birds (5), although it is also known to travel in larger flocks numbering more than 1,000 individuals (2). In the eastern half of Australia, these larger flocks tend to be formed of several species, with masked woodswallows mixing with other birds such as white-browed woodswallows (Artamus superciliosus) (2).
The masked woodswallow is known to move around in response to changes in rainfall and temperature (4), generally travelling northwards after the breeding season and returning south when food becomes available (2).
The masked woodswallow usually breeds in the southern half of Australia. Its breeding season runs from July through to March, although most breeding occurs between September and December. This species is generally a solitary nester, but it may also form loose breeding colonies, with nests located ten metres apart. Nest building occurs as soon as the flock settles at a site, and the nest is usually completed within one week. Both the male and female masked woodswallow take part in nest building, creating a shallow, open cup using twigs, grass and sometimes rootlets or plant stems, and lining it with drier, finer material. The nest is usually built within a shrub or the forked branches of a tree (2).
A masked woodswallow clutch contains 2 to 3 eggs, which are incubated for 12 days. Both sexes are involved in egg incubation, as well as chick brooding and feeding. The chicks fledge the nest at about 12 or 13 days of age, and are cared for by the adult birds for a further 12 days or more (2).
The diet of the masked woodswallow is largely insectivorous (2), although this species also feeds on nectar (2) (3) (5). Insect prey is mostly taken when in flight (2) (3) (4) (5), with the masked woodswallow uttering continuous chirruping calls and scolding notes while foraging (5). Some insects are gleaned from the ground (3) (4) (5), and may be pounced upon from a perch (2).
At dusk, the noisy, chattering flocks of masked woodswallows gather in communal roosts, often shared with white-browed woodswallows (A. superciliosus), where they rest in foliage, tree crevices, or behind sheets of peeling bark (5).