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Lesser Striped Swallow - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by rudydbn
Mkhuze Game Reserve, South Africa, September 2004
Cecropis abyssinica

Hirundo abyssinica


Photo © by volker sthamer
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania, 20 Sept. 2019

15–19 cm (6-7½ in)

  • Rufous-chestnut forehead, ear-coverts, nape and neck
  • Dark blue blue upperparts
  • Blackish-brown upper wings and underwing flight feathers
  • Tawny underwing coverts
  • Red rump
  • White underparts with dark streaking
  • Black tail with very long outer feathers

Juveniles are duller and browner, with less contrast and shorter outer tail feathers.


Photo © by Alan Manson
Hlokozi, near Highflats, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, February 2008

Sub-Saharan Africa: From Senegal and southern Sudan south to eastern South Africa.


Previously included in genus Hirundo


There are six subspecies

  • C. a. abyssinica:
  • C. a. unitatis:
  • C. a. puella:
  • C. a. maxima:
  • C. a. bannermani:
  • North-eastern Central African Republic to south-western Sudan and northwestern South Sudan
  • C. a. ampliformis:
  • South Angola to northern Namibia, western Zambia and north-western Zimbabwe


Grassland, savanna, open woodland, forest edgea and clearings, areas under cultivation and around human settlements.



They construct a bowl-shaped mud nest with a tubular entrance which is lined with soft material. The nest may be placed in a cave, under a rock overhang or on a tree branch. The clutch contains 3 white, brown spotted eggs which are incubated by the female for 14-16 days. Both adults feed the chicks for 17-19 days till they fledge.


Their diet consists mostly of flying ant, bees, flies, butterflies and moths. They also eat some fruit.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Turner, A. (2020). Lesser Striped Swallow (Cecropis abyssinica), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.lessts1.01

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