Sunday, 25 November 2012

White-throated swallow

Hirundo albigularis

Photo by Jeff Poklen (PBase)

Common name:
white-throated swallow (en); andorinha-de-garganta-branca (pt); hirondelle à gorge blanche (fr); golondrina gorgiblanca (es); weißkehlschwalbe (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Hirundinidae

This species is found breeding in across South Africa and marginally across the border into southern Namibia and southern Botswana. They migrate north to winter from Angola to Zimbabwe, Mozambique and southern D.R. Congo.

These birds are 14-17 cm long and weigh 20-25 g.

The white-throated swallow is generally found in open grasslands, fynbos scrublands and and savannas, especially along rivers, streams and lakes. They are also found in rural gardens, urban areas and artificial reservoirs.

They feed exclusively on flying insects, which typically catch on the wing, but may sometimes hunt on the ground and along shorelines. They are known to eat flies, wasps, beetles and termite alates.

White-throated swallows are monogamous, solitary nesters. They breed in August-March and nest in a small, open cup made of mud pellets and lined with fine grass, rootlets, hair and feathers. The nest is placed on a vertical rock face or on a man-made structure such as a water tank, bridge, dam wall or building. The female lays 2-5 white eggs with brown and blue blotches, which she incubates alone for 15-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 18-25 days after hatching, but will continue to roost on the nest for another 2 weeks. Each pair may raise multiple broods in a season.

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 following a possible range expansion during the 20th century.

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