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Welcome Swallow - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Tony Brown
Cockburn Wetlands Perth, Western Australia, May 2006
Hirundo neoxena


13–17 cm (5-6¾ in)

  • Reddish-chestnut forehead and throat
  • Metallic blue-black upperparts
  • Blackish-brown wings and tail
  • Light grey underparts
  • Long forked tail, with a row of white spots on the individual feathers

Young birds have a whitish forehead and throat, and have shorter tail streamers


Photo © by Ken Doy
Buckleys Hole, Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia, November 2018

Australia and New Zealand.



Two recognized subspecies[1]:

  • H. n. carteri:
  • South-western Western Australia (North West Cape to about Eyre); winters to the north
  • H. n. neoxena:
  • Breeds in south-eastern and eastern Australia, including Tasmania, with some of the population migrating north to north-eastern Australia, and on Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands. In the mid 20th century also colonized New Zealand, Norfolk Island, and the Chatham Islands


A wide variety of open habitats, including coasts, cultivation and inhabited areas, usually near water. They roost in wetlands.



The open cup nest is formed from mud and grass, lined with feathers and fur placed on a rock wall or side of a building. It is built by both adults. The clutch contains 3-5 eggs which are incubated by the female for 14-21 days. Both parents feed the young which fledge after a further 14-21 days. There are usually two broods.


Their diet consists of insects such as stone-flies, beetles, flies and bugs, taken on the wing.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2015)
  3. Birds in Backyards

Recommended Citation

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