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Encyclopedia > Greater Striped Swallow
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Greater Striped Swallow
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Genus: Hirundo
Species: H. cucullata
Binomial name
Hirundo cucullata
Boddaert, 1783

The Greater Striped Swallow (Hirundo cucullata syn. Cecropis cucullata) is a large swallow. It breeds in southern Africa, mainly in South Africa, Namibia and southern Zimbabwe. It is migratory wintering further north in Angola, Tanzania and southern Zaire. The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species continuing to survive either in the present day or the future. ... Image File history File links Status_iucn3. ... Least Concern (LC) is an IUCN category assigned to species or lower taxa which do not qualify for any other category. ... Scientific classification or biological classification is a method by which biologists group and categorize species of organisms. ... Digimon, the only known animals. ... Template:Tax more Chordates (phylum Chordata) are a group of animals that includes the vertebrates, together with several closely related invertebrates. ... “Aves” redirects here. ... Families Many, see text A passerine is a bird of the giant order Passeriformes. ... Genera Many, see text. ... Species See text The bird genus Hirundo is a group of passerines in the swallow and martin family. ... In biology, binomial nomenclature is the formal method of naming species. ... Pieter Boddaert (1730 - 1795 or 1796) was a physician and naturalist. ... Genera Many, see text. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa. ... Flock of Barnacle Geese during autumn migration Many species of birds undertake seasonal journeys of various lengths, a phenomenon known as Bird migration. ...

This is a bird of dry open country, such as grassland, and has a preference for hills and mountains. It avoids more wooded areas, but is often found around human habitation.

The Greater Striped Swallow builds a bowl-shaped mud nest with a tubular entrance on the underside of a suitable structure. The nest has a soft lining, and is often reused in later years. The nest may be build in a cave or under a rock overhang or fallen tree. This species has benefited from its willingness to use buildings, bridges, culverts and similar man-made structures. Given the choice, it will select a high nest site.

The eggs are glossy white with a few brown spots; three eggs is a typical clutch. Incubation is by the female alone for 17-20 days to hatching. Both parents then feed the chicks. Fledging takes another 23-30 days, but the young birds will return to the nest to roost for a few days after the first flight.

The Greater Striped Swallow is 18-20 cm long. It has dark blue blue upperparts with a pale orange rump and a chestnut crown, nape and sides of the head. The underparts and underwing coverts are creamy white with dark streaking, and the upper wings and underwing flight feathers are blackish-brown. The blackish tail has very long outer feathers; these are slightly longer in the male than the female. Juveniles are duller and browner, with less contrast and shorter outer tail feathers. The flight is slow and buoyant, and the call is a twittering chissick.

This species can be distinguished from the smaller Lesser Striped Swallow, Hirundo abyssinica, in that the latter species has heavier and darker underparts striping, a deeper red rump, and a brighter head colour. Lesser also prefers less open habitats.

Greater Striped Swallow is common, unafraid of humans, and has benefited from the availability of nest sites around habitation. It feeds mainly on flying insects, but has been known to eat small fruits.


  • Sinclair, Hockey and Warburton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa, ISBN 1-86872-721-1
  • Turner and Rose, Swallows and Martins ISBN 0-7470-3205-5

  Results from FactBites:
South Africa 1997 (10054 words)
Overhead, swallows such as Greater Striped, European (Barn) and House Martin were numerous as were Little and Whiterumped Swifts.
Whitethroated Swallow (Hirundo albigularis) -- one, WB, common, WK.
Greater Striped Swallow (Hirundo cucullata) -- common, WB, WK.
  More results at FactBites »



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