Blue Swallow

Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea
Status: Vulnerable (IUCN)

This medium-sized glossy blue-black swallow is unusual amongst the Hirundinae as it exhibits sexual dimorphism. The males outer tail feathers form very long, slender streamers as compared with the short tail of the female. In the field, females and juveniles may be confused with the similar sized Eastern Saw-wing (Psalidoprocne orientalis).

This intra-African migrant breeds in eastern South Africa, north-western Swaziland, eastern Zimbabwe, western Mozambique, northern Malawi, north-eastern Zambia, south-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and south-western Tanzania. It arrives in September and is very habitat specific to the montane grasslands of the eastern highlands.

This species is threatened by commercial timber production, human population growth, the spread of alien invasive trees and plants (pine, wattle and Lantana), uncontrolled fires and a decline in the Ant bear population through excessive hunting with a consequent reduction in their burrows, which are the preferred nesting site of the Blue Swallow.

Keeping Common Birds Common