Friday, 15 April 2011

Red-rumped swallow

Hirundo daurica

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Hirundinidae

This species is a common, but patchily distributed breeder in southern Europe, being found from Portugal and Spain, through France, Italy, the Balkans, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and into Turkey. They also breed in Morocco. This species is also found breeding in Asia, through the Middle East, along Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, China and all the way to Japan. These populations winter either in sub-Saharan Africa or in southern Asia. There are resident races in Africa in a broad belt from West Africa east to Ethiopia and then south to Tanzania, and most Indian and Sri Lanka breeders are also year-round residents.

Red-rumped swallows are 16-18 cm long and have a wingspan of 33 cm. They weigh 24 g.

They are most often found plains and grasslands, often in hilly areas. They tend to remain near water, nesting in rocky outcrops, under bridges and in other human buildings.

Red-rumped swallows hunt various insects in flight.

These birds nest in May-July, with both sexes building the nest. The nest is a closed cup with an entrance tunnel, made of mud and saliva, and placed under a ceiling, bridge, or in a rocky outcrop. There the female lays 3-6 eggs which are incubated for 11-16 days. The chicks fledge 20-21 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has an extremely large, but patchy, breeding range. Although the global population size has not been quantified, the European population accounts for 100.000-430.000 individuals, and probably represents less than 25% of the global population. The population trend is uncertain as this species declined is areas like Greece and Albania, but these losses seem to have been compensated by increases elsewhere, notably in Spain and Portugal.

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