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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Infraclassis: Aves
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Infraordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Sylvioidea

Familia: Hirundinidae
Genus: Hirundo
Species (15): H. aethiopica - H. albigularis - H. angolensis - H. atrocaeruleaH. dimidiata – H. domicola – H. leucosoma – H. lucida – H. megaensis – H. neoxena – H. nigrita – H. nigrorufa – H. rustica – H. smithii – H. tahitica


Hirundo Linnaeus, 1758: 191

Type species: Hirundo rustica Linnaeus, 1758; gender: feminine


Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiæ: impensis direct. Laurentii Salvii. i–ii, 1–824 pp DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.542: 191. Reference page.

The bird genus Hirundo is a group of passerines in the family Hirundinidae (swallows and martins). The genus name is Latin for a swallow.[1] These are the typical swallows, including the widespread barn swallow. Many of this group have blue backs, red on the face and sometimes the rump or nape, and whitish or rufous underparts. With fifteen species this genus is the largest in its family.


The genus Hirundo was introduced in 1758 by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae.[2] The genus name is the Latin word for a swallow.[3] Linnaeus included eight species in the genus and of these William Swainson designated the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) as the type species.[4][5]
Extant species

The genus contains fifteen species. The linear sequence is based on two molecular phylogenetic studies published in 2005 and 2018.[6][7][8]

Image Common name Scientific name Distribution
Hirundo nigrorufa, Munhango, Birding Weto, a.jpg Black-and-rufous swallow Hirundo nigrorufa Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia.
Blue swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea from South Africa to Tanzania
Pied-winged swallow (Hirundo leucosoma).jpg Pied-winged swallow Hirundo leucosoma Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
Hirundo megaensis Mega.jpg White-tailed swallow Hirundo megaensis Oromia, Ethiopia.
Pearl-breasted Swallow by CraigAdam (cropped).jpg Pearl-breasted swallow Hirundo dimidiata southern Africa from Angola, southern Congo and Tanzania southwards.
Hirundo tahitica - Pak Thale.jpg Pacific swallow Hirundo tahitica southern Asia and the islands of the south Pacific.
Hill Swallow (Hirundo domicola) by Dharani Prakash.jpg Hill swallow Hirundo domicola southern India and Sri Lanka.
Hirundo neoxena risdon.jpg Welcome swallow Hirundo neoxena Australia and nearby islands
White-throated Swallows (Hirundo albigularis) (6817418149) (cropped).jpg White-throated swallow Hirundo albigularis southern Africa from Angola and Zambia southwards to the Cape in South Africa.
Wire tailed swallow 18 കമ്പിവാലൻ കത്രിക (Hirundo smithii ).jpg Wire-tailed swallow Hirundo smithii southern Africa and southeastern Asia.
White-throated Blue-Swallow S4E1838 (16953709336) (cropped).jpg White-bibbed swallow Hirundo nigrita Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.
Barn Swallow perched in wire.jpg Barn swallow Hirundo rustica North and South America, most of Africa aside from the Sahara Desert, most of Eurasia aside from the northern Siberia, and northern Australia.
Angola swallow.jpg Angolan swallow Hirundo angolensis Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
Flickr - Rainbirder - Red-chested Swallow (Hirundo lucida).jpg Red-chested swallow Hirundo lucida West Africa, the Congo Basin and Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Swallow - Ghana S4E2764 (16978329422).jpg Ethiopian swallow Hirundo aethiopica Benin to Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Israel, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda

Extinct species

There are at least two fossil species included in this genus:

†Hirundo gracilis (late Miocene of Polgardi, Hungary)[9]
†Hirundo major (Pliocene of Csarnota, Hungary)[9]

Former species

Some authorities, either presently or formerly, recognize several additional species as belonging to the genus Hirundo including:

West African swallow (as Hirundo domicella)[10]

Distribution and habitat

All of the species are found in the Old World, although one, the barn swallow, is cosmopolitan, also occurring in the Americas.

H. rustica foraging
Windows in the tail of H. rustica
Tail streamers of H. smithii filifera
Nest of H. rustica
Clutch of H. rustica gutturalis
Clutch of H. smithii


Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 193. ISBN 1408125013.
Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Volume 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 191.
Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 193. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
Swainson, William John (1837). On the Natural History and Classification of Birds. Volume 2. London: John Taylor. p. 340.
Dickinson, E.C.; Christidis, L., eds. (2014). The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines (4th ed.). Eastbourne, UK: Aves Press. p. 479. ISBN 978-0-9568611-2-2.
Sheldon, Frederick H.; Whittingham, Linda A.; Moyle, Robert G.; Slikas, Beth; Winkler, David W. (April 2005). "Phylogeny of swallows (Aves: Hirundinidae) estimated from nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 35 (1): 254–270. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.11.008. ISSN 1055-7903. PMID 15737595.
Silva, Thilina N. de; Fernando, Sumudu W.; Robbins, Mark B.; Cooper, Jacob C.; Fokam, Eric B.; Peterson, A. Townsend (2018). "Recognition of a new generic-level swallow taxon from central Africa". Journal of Avian Biology. 49 (9): e01698. doi:10.1111/jav.01698. ISSN 1600-048X.
"Taxonomic Updates – IOC World Bird List". Retrieved 2021-08-16.
Kessler, E. (2013). Neogene songbirds (Aves, Passeriformes) from Hungary. Hantkeniana Budapest 8: 37-149.
"Cecropis domicella - Avibase". Retrieved 2017-05-05.

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