Saturday, 3 May 2014

Blue-and-white swallow

Pygochelidon cyanoleuca

Photo by Dario Sanches (Wikipedia)

Common name:
blue-and-white swallow (en); andorinha-pequena-de-casa (pt); hirondelle bleu et blanc (fr); golondrina barranquera (es); schwarzsteißschwalbe (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Hirundinidae

This species is found throughout most of South America, being found from southern Costa Rica down to Tierra del Fuego, but mostly absent from the Amazon river basin. The southernmost populations migrate north to winter.

These birds are 11-13 cm long and weigh 9-13 g.

The blue-and-white swallow is mostly found in rural and urban areas, including arable land and pastures, also using temperate grasslands and degraded patches of former forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.600 m.

They hunt insects on the wing, mostly taking flying ants, wasps and small flies, but also beetles, bugs and moths.

These birds are monogamous, with mates remaining together throughout the year. They can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. The nest is made of grass and feathers, and placed in a crevice in a cliff, burrow in a bank or road cutting, hole in a tree, or holes in walls, bridges or other artificial structures. There the female lays 3-6 glossy white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 26-27 days after hatching, but continue to receive food from the parents for several more days.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 5-50 million individuals. The population is suspected to be increasing owing to urban development, as they readily adapt to human-changed habitats.

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