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Swallow species in India


The two Swallow species in India- the barn swallow and the red-rumped swallow are both important resident species of Chennai. However, one (barn swallow) can be noticed easily but the other one (red-rumped swallow) remains in the shadow.


Swallows in India:

  • In India, there are 15 species of swallows and martins, many of which look similar. 
  • Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Streak-throated Swallowand Wire-tailed Swallow are perhaps the most common of these and are distributed in most of the country.
  • Among these, Red-rumped, Wire-tailed and Streak-throated Swallow are largely resident but Barn Swallow is a winter visitor to most of the country and breeds only in the Himalayas within the region.

Red-rumped Swallow

  • Brightly-colored swallow with a deeply forked tail, pale orangish rump, black squared-off undertail coverts, and an incomplete orange collar.
  • Varies significantly across range: European and African birds have clean whitish or orangish underparts, while Asian birds are extensively streaked below; compare carefully with other “Cecropis” species where range overlaps occur.

Barn swallow

  • The barn swallow(Hirundo rustica) is the most widespread species of swallow in the world.
  • In fact, it appears to have the largest natural distribution of any of the world's passerine, ranging over 251 million square kilometres globally.
  • It is a distinctive passerine bird with blue upperparts and a long, deeply forked tail.
  • It is found in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
  • In Anglophone Europe it is just called the swallow; in northern Europe it is the only common species called a "swallow" rather than a "martin".

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