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Red Sea Swallow - BirdForum Opus

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Skull2 t.png The species Red Sea Swallow is possibly extinct.
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Alternative name: Red Sea Cliff Swallow

Petrochelidon perdita

Hirundo perdita


The single specimen was dark above with a grey rump. It had a dark throat and white belly and underwing coverts, with rufous on the under tail coverts and axillaries. The bird was similar to South African Cliff Swallow P. spilodera: the main difference being that South African Cliff swallow has a distinctly rufous rump, compared to the grey rump of Red Sea Cliff Swallow.


The only confirmed record of this species is a single specimen found dead in May 1984 at Sanganeb Lighthouse, which is located on a tiny island in the Red Sea 30km off the coast of Sudan. As this is unsuitable habitat for a breeding population it can be assumed that the bird came from elsewhere. The finder of the specimen (Don Smith) reported seeing other short-tailed swallows with grey rumps, which appeared to be passing through on migration. The distribution of this species can be little more than speculation, but suggestions include the Red Sea Hills of Sudan, the hills along the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, or possibly further south in Ethiopia where an undescribed species of swallow has been reported on several occasions.


Previously included in genus Hirundo.


Unknown, as the species has never been seen in its natural habitat.


Unknown, as this species has never been seen alive.

External Links

The following blog post has a photo of the original dead bird found at Sanganeb Lighthouse. It also includes information about an unsuccessful search for the species in the Red Sea Hills of Sudan (http://birdingsudan.blogspot.de/2011/06/where-is-red-sea-swallow.html).