• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Montane Blue Swallow - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Blue Swallow

Photo by Alan Manson
Roselands, near Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, January 2008
Hirundo atrocaerulea


Length 18-25 cm
Male: A dark metallic-blue swallow (appears black in poor light) with very long outer tail feathers.
Female: Similar to the male, but with a shorter tail.


An intra-African migrant. Breeds in highland grasslands in eastern South Africa, western eSwatini, western Zimbabwe and adjacent Mozambique, Malawi, north-eastern Zambia, south-western Tanzania, and south-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

It visits north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, southern Uganda and western Kenya in the southern winter[3].


This is a monotypic species[1].

Subspecies lynesi is not recognised by most authorities[2].


Grasslands in areas of high rainfall. Classified as Vulnerable in the 2007 IUCN Red List, due to the limited range and the threat of habitat loss (BirdLife International, 2007). The species is approaching extinction in South Africa and Swaziland, largely as a result of commercial afforestation in areas that were previously grassland.



The diet includes insects caught aerially.


It builds a cup-shaped nest from mud and grass, lined with fine grass, animal hair and feathers. The 3 white eggs are incubated by the female for 14 days; the young fledge approximately 22 days later.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Avibase
  3. BirdLife International (2007) Species factsheet: Hirundo atrocaerulea. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/10/2007.
  4. ARKive

Recommended Citation

External Links