Sunday, 28 August 2011

Lesser striped swallow

Hirundo abyssinica

Photo by Jack Versloot (Wikipedia)

Common name:
lesser striped swallow (en); andorinha-estriada-pequena (pt); hirondelle striée (fr); golondrina abisinia (es); maidschwalbe (de)
Order Passeriformes
Family Hirundinidae
This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa from Sierra Leone and southern Sudan south into eastern South Africa.
These birds are 15-19 cm long and weigh 17 g.
The lesser striped swallow is found in open grassy areas, open savanna, forest edges and clearings, as well as sparse woodland, but also over water, mangroves, and gallery forest. They are mostly found in lowland areas.
They mainly eat arthropods, namely larval Lepidoptera, Coccinellidae and Hymenoptera, but also some fruits and seeds.

The lesser striped swallow is a monogamous, solitary nester. They breed in October-May, with both sexes building the nest. It consists of a bowl made of mud pellets and lined with grass and feathers. It is often placed in a man-made structure, such as a building or bridge, but it can also be positioned under a rock overhang or cavity in a branch or trunk of a tree. The same nest site used over multiple breeding seasons, each year it is either rebuilt or repaired before the eggs are laid. The female lays 2-4 eggs, which she incubates alone for 14-21 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 17-18 days after hatching. Each pair typically produces 3 broods per year.
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as generally common. The population is suspected to be increasing owing to deforestation and the availability of artificial nest-sites.

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