Blue-and-white swallow

The blue-and-white swallow (Notiochelidon cyanoleuca) is a passerine bird that breeds from Nicaragua south throughout South America, except in the deserts and the Amazon Basin. The southern race is migratory, wintering as far north as Trinidad, where it is a regular visitor. The nominate northern race may have bred on that island.[2]

Sometimes placed in the genus Pygochelidon,[3] it was first formally described as Hirundo cyanoleuca by French ornithologist Louis Vieillot in 1817, based on a specimen he believed to be from Paraguay.[4] The scientific name has the same meaning as the English common name.

Blue-and-white swallow
Pygochelidon cyanoleuca -Capao do Leao, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil-8
In Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Genus: Notiochelidon
N. cyanoleuca
Binomial name
Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
(Vieillot, 1817)

Hirundo cyanoleuca Vieillot, 1817
Notiochelidon cyanoleuca Pyrochelidon cyanoleuca


The adult blue-and-white swallow averages 11–12 cm (4.3–4.7 in) long and weighs about 10 g (0.35 oz). It has dark blue upperparts and white underparts, and its underwings and the undersurface of its short forked tail are blackish. The juvenile is brown above, buff-tinted below, and has a less forked tail. The call is a buzzing dzzzhreeee.[5]

There are three subspecies. The nominate N. c. cyanoleuca occurs from Nicaragua and Trinidad south to northwestern Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. The migratory southern race N. c. patagonica is larger (13.5 cm (5.3 in)), has paler underwings, and white basal undertail coverts. N. c. peruviana is restricted to coastal Peru up to 2,500 m (8,200 ft) altitude. It is smaller than patagonica, has less white in the undertail, darker underwings and duskier flanks.[5]


This is a swallow of open areas including villages and towns, farms, and forest clearings. In Central America, it is a highland bird, but elsewhere in its range it can occur from the lowlands to an altitude of 4,000 m (13,000 ft).[5][6]

This species is often found in small flocks when not breeding. The blue-and-white swallow subsists primarily on a diet of insects, caught in the air; they have been seen to gather where termites swarm.[7] The flight is typically fluttery, and this swallow frequently perches on wires or branches.[5]

The blue-and-white swallow's shallow straw nest is built by both adults in a wide range of natural or man-made cavities include tree holes, rock crevices and bridges. The clutch is up to six white eggs in the south of the range, two or three in the north, which are incubated by both parents for 15 days to hatching. The nestlings are fed by both parents for 26 days to fledging, bur return to the nest to sleep with the parents for up to two months. There may be two broods.[5]

This common and popular species has benefited greatly from deforestation and human settlement which have increased the amount of suitable habitat and food.[5] Consequently, it is not considered threatened by the IUCN.[8][3]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Pygochelidon cyanoleuca". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22712122A94320878. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22712122A94320878.en. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  2. ^ ffrench, Richard; O'Neill, John Patton; Eckelberry, Don R. (1991). A guide to the birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Ithaca, N.Y.: Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.
  3. ^ a b "Species factsheet: Pygochelidon cyanoleuca". BirdLife International. 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  4. ^ Vieillot, Louis Jean Pierre (1817). Nouveau dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle [New Dictionary of Natural History] (in French). 14 (nouvelle ed.). p. 509.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Turner, Angela; Rose, Chris (1989). Swallows and martins: an identification guide and handbook. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-51174-7.
  6. ^ Stiles, F. Gary; Skutch, Alexander F. (1989). A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. Comstock Publishing Associates. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4.
  7. ^ Olson, Storrs L.; Alvarenga, Herculano M.F. (2006). "An extraordinary feeding assemblage of birds at a termite swarm in the Serra da Mantiqueira, São Paulo, Brazil" (PDF). Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. Sociedade Brasileira de Ornitologia. 14 (3): 297–299. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2008.
  8. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Pygochelidon cyanoleuca". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.

Further reading

  • Sheldon, F.H.; Whittingham, L.A.; Moyle, R.G.; Slikas, B.; Winkler, D.W. (2005). "Phylogeny of swallows (Aves: Hirundinidae) estimated from nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequencing". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 35 (1): 254–270. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.11.008.
  • Stiles, F. Gary (September 2007). "Proposal 314: Revise the generic limits of Neotropical swallows". South American Classification Committee of the American Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 2 January 2017.

External links


Atticora is a genus of bird in the swallow family Hirundinidae. These species are found in South America.

It contains the following two species:

White-banded swallow (Atticora fasciata)

Black-collared swallow (Atticora melanoleuca)

Banded martin

The banded martin or banded sand martin (Riparia cincta) is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It is an inhabitant of the African continent.

Black-and-rufous swallow

The black-and-rufous swallow (Hirundo nigrorufa) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.

Brown-bellied swallow

The brown-bellied swallow (Notiochelidon murina) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.

It is found in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical high-altitude shrubland, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, and pastureland.

Forest swallow

The forest swallow (Petrochelidon fuliginosa) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.

It is found in Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria.

Galápagos martin

The Galápagos martin (Progne modesta) is a species of bird in the Hirundinidae family, endemic to the Galápagos Islands.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, pastureland, and heavily degraded former forest.

Grey-rumped swallow

The grey-rumped swallow (Pseudhirundo griseopyga) is a species of bird in the monotypic genus, Pseudhirundo, in the family Hirundinidae.

It is found in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Pale-footed swallow

The pale-footed swallow (Notiochelidon flavipes) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae. It is found in the northern Andes, from Venezuela to Bolivia. It is monotypic.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. They are usually seen in small flocks, occasionally with the blue-and-white swallow.

They are classified as a least-concern species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Peruvian martin

The Peruvian martin (Progne murphyi) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae. It is found in Peru and far norther Chile.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical moist montane forest, subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, pastureland, and urban areas. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Preuss's cliff swallow

Preuss's cliff swallow (Petrochelidon preussi), also known as Preuss's swallow, is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.


Progne is a genus of birds. The genus name refers to Procne (Πρόκνη), a mythological girl who was turned into a swallow to save her from her husband. She had killed their son to avenge the rape of her sister.


Pygochelidon is a genus of birds in the swallow family.


The saw-wings, Psalidoprocne, is a small genus of passerine birds in the swallow family. The common name of this group is derived from the rough outer edge of the outer primary feather on the wing, which is rough due to recurved barbs. The function of this is unknown. The birds are 11–17 cm long and black or black-and-white in colour. The genus has an African distribution and all species can be found foraging over forest and woodland.

Sinaloa martin

The Sinaloa martin (Progne sinaloae) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.

It breeds semicolonially in sheer cliff faces within pine-oak forests of the Sierra Madre Occidental of western Mexico. Presumed migrant records also come from Belize and Guatemala. It is assumed to winter in South America.

Southern martin

The southern martin (Progne elegans) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.

It is found in Argentina and southern Bolivia ; in winter it migrates to the western Amazon Basin.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical moist montane forest, subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, and urban areas.


Stelgidopteryx (Baird, 1858) is a small genus of swallows. It contains two species:

Adults of both species are brown on top with lighter underparts and a slightly forked tail. They nest in cavities but do not excavate their holes or form colonies.

These birds forage in flight over water or fields, usually flying low. They eat insects.

"Rough-winged" refers to the serrated edge feathers on the wing of this genus; this feature would only be apparent in the hand.

Tumbes swallow

The Tumbes swallow (Tachycineta stolzmanni) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.

It is found in northwestern Peru and far southwestern Ecuador.

Its natural habitats are dry savanna, coastal saline lagoons, and arable land.

Swallows (family: Hirundinidae)


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