About animals

Family: Hirundinidae Vigors, 1825 = Swallow


The family Swallows - Hirundinidae - is rich in species (79). Swallow is characterized by the ability to get food in the air, they are able to catch insects on the fly. The swallows have a characteristic body shape: short and very wide, especially at the base of the beak, a very large section of the mouth, narrow and very long wings, a wide chest and at the same time an elegant physique, short and weak legs, unsuitable for movement on the ground, finally usually a forked tail - signs by which it is easy to distinguish representatives of this family from other birds. You can confuse them only with swifts, on which the swallows look very similar. The plumage of the swallows is dense, usually with a metallic tint on the back. Both chicks and adult birds have a similar color, there is no sexual dimorphism either. The size of the birds is small (length 9-23 cm, weight 10-60 g).

This family includes 19 genera with 79 species distributed around the world, except for the coldest latitudes (they are not in the Antarctic, Arctic, Subarctic), New Zealand and some ocean islands. Most species are residents of hot countries. Swallows in Central Africa are especially diverse: for example, 15 species nest in Angola. Species living in northern countries are migratory, swallows living in warm regions lead a sedentary lifestyle. Swallows are beautiful flyers, they spend a significant part of their life in the air. They even drink on the fly, rapidly rushing with raised wings and a neck stretched down over the very surface of the water and scooping its beak. They reluctantly descend to the ground, preferring to sit on tree branches, roofs of buildings, wires. Swallows singing - quiet pleasant twittering. These birds build nests on rocks, in cliffs on buildings, less often on trees, some species arrange them in coastal cliffs, tear deep minks. The nest itself is usually constructed from clay or from the ground glued with bird saliva. The tray is always lined with soft vegetable rags and feathers. In clutch there are 3–7 eggs, most often whitish, sometimes with streaks. In the year 1-2 masonry. The food of swallows consists exclusively of insects, caught on the fly (small flies, mosquitoes, midges, small bugs, etc.). All these insects, carried away by currents of warm air in clear sunny weather, rise quite high up. At this time, swallows, busy hunting, fly high in the sky. When, especially before a thunderstorm, the air is saturated with water vapor and wet insects “nails to the ground, the swallows move closer to the water bodies. Here, flying along the very surface of the water, they catch insects that continue to fly in rainy weather: dragonflies, mayflies, caddis flies, water bugs, butterflies, etc. It is no coincidence that the behavior of swallows has long been an indicator of weather. For residents of cold and temperate latitudes, the dots are the favorite messengers of the warm season. In many peoples of the world, the nests of these birds are protected, and it is believed that a swallow nesting under the roof of the house brings happiness to people

The family is divided into two subfamilies: Pseudochelidoninae, which consists of a single genus of river swallows (Pseudochelidoninae), and Hirundininae, which includes all other genera.

* Genus River swallows (Pseudochelidon)
o African River Swallow (Pseudochelidon eurystomina)
o White-eyed river swallow (Pseudochelidon sirintarae)

* Genus African swallows (Psalidoprocne)
o Brilliant African swallow (Psalidoprocne nitens)
o Cameroon African Swallow (Psalidoprocne fuliginosa)
o White-headed African swallow (Psalidoprocne albiceps)
o Dark African swallow (Psalidoprocne pristoptera)
o Scissor tailed African swallow (Psalidoprocne obscura)
o Psalidoprocne orientalis
o Black African swallow (Psalidoprocne holomelaena)
* Genus Pseudhirundo
o Gray-swallow (Pseudhirundo griseopyga)
* Genus of the White-backed Swallows (Cheramoeca)
o White-backed swallow (Cheramoeca leucosternus)
* Genus Swallows Fedina (Phedina)
o Mascaren swallow-fedina (Phedina borbonica)
o Congolese swallow-fedina (Phedina brazzae)
* Genus Shore swallows (Riparia)
o Small shore swallow (Riparia paludicola)
o Sandy Swallow (Riparia congica)
o Beach (Riparia riparia)
o Pale shore swallow (Riparia diluta)
o White-bearded shore swallow (Riparia cincta)
* Genus American Swallows (Tachycineta)
o American Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
o Violet-green American Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)
o Golden American Swallow (Tachycineta euchrysea)
o Bahamian American Swallow (Tachycineta cyaneoviridis)
o Tachycineta stolzmanni
o Mangrove American Swallow (Tachycineta albilinea)
o White-winged American swallow (Tachycineta albiventer)
o White-lumbar American swallow (Tachycineta leucorrhoa)
o Tachycineta meyeni
* Genus Forest Swallows (Progne)
o Purple Forest Swallow (Progne subis)
o Progne cryptoleuca
o Dominican Forest Swallow (Progne dominicensis)
o Progne sinaloae
o Gray-breasted Forest Swallow (Progne chalybea)
o Forktail Swallow (Progne modesta)
o Progne murphyi
o Progne elegans
o Brown-breasted forest swallow (Progne tapera)
* Genus South American swallows (Notiochelidon)
o Brown-bellied South American Swallow (Progne murina)
o Patagonian swallow (Progne cyanoleuca)
o Pale-footed South American swallow (Progne flavipes)
o Black-Capped South American Swallow (Progne pileata)
* Genus Haplochelidon
o Andean swallow (Haplochelidon andecola)
* Genus Amazonian swallows (Atticora)
o Belted Amazonian Swallow (Atticora fasciata)
o Black-necked Amazonian swallow (Atticora melanoleuca)
* Genus Dwarf swallows (Neochelidon)
o Dwarf swallow (Neochelidon tibialis)
* Genus Puffass swallows (Stelgidopteryx)
o Stelgidopteryx serripennis
o Passover swallow (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)
* Genus Fox Swallows (Alopochelidon)
o Fox Swallow (Alopochelidon fucata)
* Rod Swallows (Hirundo)
o Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
o Song Swallow (Hirundo lucida)
o Angolan swallow (Hirundo angolensis)
o Brown-throated swallow (Hirundo tahitica)
o New Guinean Swallow (Hirundo neoxena)
o White-headed swallow (Hirundo albigularis)
o Threadtail Swallow (Hirundo smithii)
o Blue Swallow (Hirundo nigrita)
o Peggy-winged swallow (Hirundo leucosoma)
o White-tailed Swallow (Hirundo megaensis)
o Pearl-necked swallow (Hirundo dimidiata)
o Blue Swallow (Hirundo atrocaerulea)
o Black-red swallow (Hirundo nigrorufa)
* Genus Rocky Swallows (Ptyonoprogne)
o Rocky Swallow (Ptyonoprogne rupestris)
o African Rock Swallow (Ptyonoprogne fuligula)
o Plain Rocky Swallow (Ptyonoprogne concolor)
* Genus City swallows (Delichon)
o City Swallow (Delichon urbicum)
o Eastern funnel (Delichon dasypus)
o Nepali funnel (Delichon nipalense)
* Genus Cecropis
o Cape Great Swallow (Cecropis cucullata)
o Spotted Swallow (Cecropis abyssinica)
o Red-breasted swallow (Cecropis semirufa)
o Giant Swallow (Cecropis senegalensis)
o Red Lumbar Swallow (Cecropis daurica)
o Great Swallow (Cecropis striolata)
o Cecropis badia
* Genus Mountain Swallows (Petrochelidon)
o Red-necked Mountain Swallow (Cecropis rufigula)
o Red-browed mountain swallow (Cecropis preussi)
o Petrochelidon perdita
o South African Mountain Swallow (Cecropis spilodera)
o Cameroon Mountain Swallow (Cecropis fuliginosa)
o Indian Mountain Swallow (Cecropis fluvicola)
o Beautiful Mountain Swallow (Cecropis ariel)
o Tree Mountain Swallow (Cecropis nigricans)
o White-faced mountain swallow (Cecropis pyrrhonota)
o Cave Mountain Swallow (Cecropis fulva)
o Petrochelidon rufocollaris

Family 19. Hirundinidae - swallow

Small (length 9 - 23 cm, weight 10 - 60 g), perfectly flying pointed-winged birds with a typical appearance. By the nature of their distribution, they are almost cosmopolitans, who did not penetrate only into the Antarctic, New Zealand, small ocean islands, and into the Arctic and Subarctic regions.

A rounded, slightly flattened head with a short, rather distinctly flattened beak; the mouth incision is very large (the jaw joint is at eye level). Bronchial rings are more or less closed, and in the region of the lower larynx - half rings. The salivary glands are very large (increase before nesting). The wings are long, pointed, with 9 primary flywheels. A tail with a more or less sharp notch. Legs are rather weak, with short fores and thin fingers. They walk on the earth slowly and reluctantly. The color is dark above and light (white) below. Sexual and age morphism of color is expressed mildly and not in all species. Usually in a year there is one molt: full post-breeding.

Fig. 184. Barn swallow Hirundo rustica L.

It mainly inhabits open landscapes: river valleys on plains and mountains, coasts, forest edges, many species are synanthropes. The males have a twittering song. The nests of most species are molded, from lumps of dirt fastened with saliva and attached to rocky cliffs, trees, buildings. Some species in the cliffs dig holes, others nest in hollows and crevices of rocks. In many species, nesting is colonial or group. The nest tray is always lined with soft plant rags and feathers. In clutch 3 - 7 eggs, usually white, sometimes with speckles. Incubation 13 - 20 days. In many species, the female incubates more intensely than the male. Chicks hatch naked or slightly pubescent. 3 to 5 weeks remain in the nest. In some species - 2 - 3 clutches per season. Out of season breeding are kept in flocks. In the tropics wandering, in temperate latitudes, migratory. Almost exclusively insectivorous. They catch prey in the air, less often they peck at a raid of insects sitting on branches, stones, etc.

The Hirundinidae family unites 75 - 79 species belonging to 19 genera: Hirundo (about 13 species) Atticora, Cescropis, Cheramoeca, Delichon, Hylochelidon, Iridoproctie, Notiochelidon, Phedina, Petrochelidon (10 types) Progne, Psalidoprosone, Pseudochelidon, Pseudohirundo, Ptyonoprogne, Riparia, Stelgidopteryx, Tachycineta.

The center of origin, apparently, is Africa, where most species are now found. For example, 15 species of swallows nest in Angola. In South America, the species composition of swallows is more diverse than in North. Some species have very large ranges: so, the barn swallow Hirundo rustica L. and shore swallow R. riparia (L.) are widely distributed in Europe, Asia, North America, and in places in North Africa. In the USSR, 9 species of 6 genera were noted; 7 species of 4 genera undoubtedly nest.