African Swallows

Hirundinidae Species Within Southern Africa


In addition to the Barn Swallow Southern Africa is blessed with having numerous other Hirundo species, the majority of which are inter Africa migrants. The unfortunate part of this is that the vast majority of Africa is uninhabited and a lot of the balance with people unaware of research into animals and birds making the recapture and/or recovery of ringed birds from a rural area a very rare occurrence. Ringing schemes are now underway throughout Southern and South Central Africa as well as in Kenya/Tanzania (Eastern Africa) and Swallows have also been ringed in Nigeria, so hopefully in time we may be able to get some feedback as to where the inter African migrants travel. These birds breed in the Southern African region and migrate at around the same time as the Barn Swallow although they arrive back earlier than the Barn Swallow. This can be explained in the same manner as to why the Barn Swallow migrates north quicker than its southerly migration, and that is the most basic of instincts “The Urge to Breed”.


Other Species are: -


Resident Species – may have altitudinal movements


Wiretailed Swallow – Hirundo smithii

Rock Martin – Hirundo fuligula


Inter African Migrants


Lesser Striped Swallow – Hirundo abyssinica

Greater Striped Swallow – Hirundo cucullata

Whitethroated Swallow – Hirundo albiglaris

South African Cliff Swallow – Hirundo spilodera

Blue Swallow – Hirundo atrocaerulea

Pearlbreasted Swallow – Hirundo dimidiata

Redbreasted Swallow – Hirundo semirufa