Sub Species & Migration

The Barn swallow has been categorised into 6 different subspecies, each of which have their own breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere, and each one migrating in an almost due south direction. Each subspecies have slightly different plumage variations, however interbreeding between the different subspecies does occur.

Hirundo  rustica rustica, is the common European supspecies and its range is from Ireland in the west to western Russia in the east. It will migrate south and cover Africa south of the Sahara Desert. They have a full breastband with whitish underparts.

Hirundo  rustica  transitiva breeds in the Middle East, and migrates to East Africa, and does not migrate further south than Kenya and Tanzania. It can be identified by its broken breastband and reddish/orange underparts.
 
Hirundo  rustica  savignii  is the one strange subspecies in that it is resident in Egypt, It can be identified by it’s full breast band and red/orange underparts.
 
Hirundo  rustica  gutturalis  breeds in central and eastern Asia, from the Himalayas to Japan, and migrates in a southerly direction to Southern India and Indonesia with some birds going as far as the Northern Territories of Australia. It can be identified by its broken breastband and whitish underparts.
 
Hirundo rustica tytleri  breeds to the north of gutteralis in Siberia, and migrates to central Indonesia around Thailand. It can be identified by its broken breastband and red/orange underparts.
 
Hirundo  rustica  erythrogaster  is the Amercan subspecies and breeds in North America and migrates to South America. It can be identified by a broken or narrow breastband and reddish underparts.