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Hirundo albigularis

Hirundo albigularis (*)

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Subordo: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Cladus: Telluraves
Cladus: Australaves
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Infraordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Sylvioidea

Familia: Hirundinidae
Genus: Hirundo
Species: Hirundo albigularis
Subspecies: H. a. albigularis - H. a. ambigua

Hirundo albigularis Strickland, 1849

Contributions to Ornithology 2 p."17-4" pl.15

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Witkeelswael
čeština: Vlaštovka jihoafrická
English: White-throated Swallow
español: Golondrina de garganta blanca
فارسی: پرستوی گلوسفید
français: Hirondelle à gorge blanche
Nederlands: Witkeelzwaluw
svenska: Vitstrupesvala
Tiếng Việt: Nhạn họng trắng
中文: 白喉燕

The white-throated swallow (Hirundo albigularis) is a small bird in the swallow family. It is a common species, found in southern Africa, which has benefited from the increased nesting opportunities presented by the construction of bridges and dams.


The white-throated swallow is 14–17 cm long. It has glossy dark blue upperparts and a bright chestnut crown. A dark blue-black breast band separates the white throat from the greyish white underparts and underwing coverts. The upper wings, underwing flight feathers and forked tail are blackish-blue, but the undertail has white patches near the feather tips. The white throat and blackish breast band are distinctions from similar Hirundo species. The outer feathers are slightly longer in the male than the female. Juveniles are duller than the adult, with shorter outer tail feathers and a browner crown. The call is a mix of warbles and twitters.
Distribution and habitat

The swallow breeds in southern Africa from Angola and Zambia southwards to the Cape in South Africa. It is mainly migratory, wintering in Angola, Zambia and southern Zaire. This is a bird of open country and grassland, with a preference for highlands and nearby water. It is often found around man-made structures.

It feeds mainly on flying insects, which it pursues with a fast twisting flight like a barn swallow.

The white-throated swallow builds a bowl-shaped mud nest with a soft lining of grass or hair. It is usually near or over water, and is built on a ledge under an overhang on a rock face or on a man-made structure such as a building, dam wall, culvert or bridge. Uninhabited buildings are preferred to houses. The nest may be reused for subsequent broods or in later years.

The three eggs of a typical clutch are white with brown and blue blotches, and are incubated by the female alone for 15–16 days to hatching. Both parents then feed the chicks. Fledging takes another 20–21 days, but the young birds will return to the nest to roost for a few days after the first flight. The young can swim a short distance to safety if they fall from the nest.


BirdLife International (2017). "Hirundo albigularis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T22712278A111068030. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22712278A111068030.en. Retrieved 13 November 2021.

Sinclair, Hockey and Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa, ISBN 1-86872-721-1
Turner and Rose, Swallows and Martins ISBN 0-7470-3202-5

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