Cecropis is a genus of large swallows found in Africa and tropical Asia. The red-rumped swallow's range also extends into southern Europe, and (in small numbers) into Australia. This genus is frequently subsumed into the larger genus Hirundo.[1]

The swallow family consists of 74 bird species which typically hunt insects in flight. The two river martins have long been recognised as very distinctive, and are placed in a separate subfamily, Pseudochelidoninae, leaving all other swallows and martins in the Hirundininae. DNA studies suggest that there are three major groupings within the Hirundininae subfamily, broadly correlating with the type of nest built.[2] The groups are the "core martins" including burrowing species like the sand martin, the "nest-adopters", with birds like the tree swallow which use natural cavities, and the "mud nest builders". The Cecropsis species construct a closed mud nest and therefore belong to the latter group. It is believed that the evolutionary sequence is from species that make open cup nests (Hirundo and Ptyonoprogne), through Delichon house martins with closed nests, to Cecropis and Petrochelidon, which have retort-like closed nests with an entrance tunnel.[3]

The genus Cecropis was introduced by the German zoologist Friedrich Boie in 1826.[4] The type species was subsequently designated as the greater striped swallow.[5] The name of the genus is from the Ancient Greek Kekropis "Athenian woman".[6]

Hirundo abyssinica
Lesser striped swallow (Cecropis abyssinica)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Subfamily: Hirundininae
Genus: Cecropis
F. Boie, 1826

See text

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The nine species in the genus are:[7]

Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
Greater Striped Swallow (Cecropis cucullata) (31008773580) Cecropis cucullata Greater striped swallow southern Africa, mainly in South Africa, Namibia and southern Zimbabwe. It is migratory wintering further north in Angola, Tanzania and southern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Orochelidon murina Cecropis abyssinica Lesser striped swallow Sub-Saharan Africa from Sierra Leone and southern Sudan south into eastern South Africa.
Red-breasted Swallow (Hirundo semirufa) (30987147586) Cecropis semirufa Red-breasted swallow Sahara from the Eastern Cape north to northern Namibia and southern Angola in the west and Mozambique in the east, with a disjunct range from Senegal south to northern Angola east to Uganda, south western Kenya and north western Tanzania.
Mosque Swallow Cecropis senegalensis Mosque swallow southern Mauritania and Senegal east to western South Sudan then south to Namibia, northern Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and north eastern South Africa.
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) Photograph by Shantanu Kuveskar Cecropis daurica Red-rumped swallow Portugal and Spain to Japan, India, Sri Lanka and tropical Africa
Cecropis hyperythra Sri Lanka swallow Sri Lanka
Cecropis domicella Cecropis domicella West African swallow Senegal to eastern Sudan
Cecropis striolata Striated swallow South and Southeast Asia to northeastern India and Taiwan.
Cecropis badia Rufous-bellied swallow Malay Peninsula.


  1. ^ Angela K. Turner; Chris Rose (November 1989). Swallows & Martins: An Identification Guide and Handbook. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-395-51174-9. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  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". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 35 (1): 254–270. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.11.008. PMID 15737595.
  3. ^ Winkler, David W.; Sheldon, Frederick H. (June 1993). "Evolution of nest construction in swallows (Hirundinidae): a molecular phylogenetic perspective" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 90 (12): 5705–5707. doi:10.1073/pnas.90.12.5705. PMC 46790. PMID 8516319. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-17.
  4. ^ Boie, Friedrich (1826). "Generalübersicht". Isis von Oken (in German). 19. Col 971.
  5. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Greenway, James C. Jr, eds. (1960). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 9. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 113.
  6. ^ Jobling, J.A. (2018). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  7. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Swallows". World Bird List Version 8.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
African swallow

Although a well-known plot point in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the term "African swallow" is highly ambiguous; there are many African birds in the swallow family and called "swallow":

Genus Cecropis, mud-nest building swallows:

Lesser striped swallow, Cecropis abyssinica

Greater striped swallow, Cecropis cucullata

Red-rumped swallow, Cecropis daurica (range extends beyond Africa)

West African swallow, Cecropis domicella

Red-breasted swallow, Cecropis semirufa

Mosque swallow, Cecropis senegalensis

Genus Hirundo open-cup nesting swallows:

Ethiopian swallow, Hirundo aethiopica

White-throated swallow, Hirundo albigularis

Angolan swallow, Hirundo angolensis

Blue swallow, Hirundo atrocaerulea

Pearl-breasted swallow, Hirundo dimidiata

Pied-winged swallow, Hirundo leucosoma

Red-chested swallow, Hirundo lucida

White-tailed swallow, Hirundo megaensis

white-bibbed swallow, Hirundo nigrita

Black-and-rufous swallow, Hirundo nigrorufa

Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica (range extends beyond Africa, this is also the European swallow)

Wire-tailed swallow, Hirundo smithii smithii

Genus Petrochelidon, cliff nesting swallows:

Forest swallow, Petrochelidon fuliginosa

Preuss's cliff swallow, Petrochelidon preussi

Red-throated cliff swallow, Petrochelidon rufigula

South African cliff swallow, Petrochelidon spilodera

Genus Pseudhirundo:

Grey-rumped swallow, Pseudhirundo griseopygaThere are many other African birds in the swallow family Hirundinidae, but not called swallows, such as the Saw-wings (genus Psalidoprocne, also called rough-winged swallows), and numerous martins, such as the African river martin (Pseudochelidon eurystomina).


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)

Dusky crag martin

The dusky crag martin (Ptyonoprogne concolor) is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It is about 13 cm (5 in) long with a broad body and wings, and a short square tail that has small white patches near the tips of most of its feathers. This martin has sooty-brown upperparts and slightly paler underparts. The two subspecies are resident breeding birds in South Asia from the Indian subcontinent to southwestern China and the northern parts of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.

This martin nests under a cliff overhang or on a man-made structure, building a neat half-cup mud nest with a soft lining. Both adults incubate the two to four eggs and feed the chicks. This species does not form large breeding colonies, but it is more gregarious outside the breeding season. It feeds a wide variety of insects that are caught as the martin flies near to cliff faces. It may be hunted by large bats as well as birds of prey, but its extensive and expanding range and large population mean that there are no significant conservation concerns.


Epieicidae or Epieikidai (Ancient Greek: Ἐπιεικίδαι) was a deme in ancient Attica of the phyle of Cecropis, sending one delegate to the Athenian Boule.. In 303/2 BCE and in 281/0 BCE, no delegates of Epieicidae attended the Boule.

Its site is unlocated.

Greater striped swallow

The greater striped swallow (Cecropis cucullata) is a large swallow that is native to Africa south of the equator.


The bird genus Hirundo is a group of passerines in the family Hirundinidae (swallows and martins). The genus name is Latin for a swallow. 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.

Lesser striped swallow

The lesser striped swallow (Cecropis abyssinica) is a large swallow. It breeds in Sub-Saharan Africa from Sierra Leone and southern Sudan south into eastern South Africa. It is partially migratory with South African birds wintering further north. West African birds leave the north of the breeding range in the dry season.

Mosque swallow

The mosque swallow (Cecropis senegalensis) is a large swallow. It is a resident breeder in much of sub-Saharan Africa, although most common in the west. It does not migrate but follows the rains to some extent.

Ornithomya cecropis

Ornithomya cecropis is a biting fly in the family of louse flies, Hippoboscidae. It was first isolated from the Mascarene martin, Phedina borbonica, in Madagascar.


Pithus or Pithos (Ancient Greek: Πίθος) was a deme in ancient Attica of the phyle of Cecropis, sending three, four, or five delegates to the Athenian Boule.The name of the deme comes from Pittheus, the maternal grandfather of Theseus; so Theseus was originally a local hero. Pithus was head of Athena Pallene's league, along with Gargettus, Pallene, both neighboring Pithus, and Acharnae. The deme also celebrated its thesmophoria, led by two local women.

Its site is unlocated.

Red-breasted swallow

The red-breasted swallow (Cecropis semirufa), also known as the rufous-chested swallow, is a member of the Hirundinidae family, found in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is confined to the tropical rainforest during the wet season.

Red-rumped swallow

The red-rumped swallow (Cecropis daurica) is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It breeds in open hilly country of temperate southern Europe and Asia from Portugal and Spain to Japan, India, Sri Lanka and tropical Africa. The Indian and African birds are resident, but European and other Asian birds are migratory. They winter in Africa or India and are vagrants to Christmas Island and northern Australia.

Red-rumped swallows are somewhat similar in habits and appearance to the other aerial insectivores, such as the related swallows and the unrelated swifts (order Apodiformes). They have blue upperparts and dusky underparts.

They resemble barn swallows, but are darker below and have pale or reddish rumps, face and neck collar. They lack a breast band, but have black undertails. They are fast fliers and they swoop on insects while airborne. They have broad but pointed wings.

Red-rumped swallows build quarter-sphere nests with a tunnel entrance lined with mud collected in their beaks, and lay 3 to 6 eggs. They normally nest under cliff overhangs in their mountain homes, but will readily adapt to buildings such as mosques and bridges.

They do not normally form large breeding colonies, but are gregarious outside the breeding season. Many hundreds can be seen at a time on the plains of India.

Rufous-bellied swallow

The rufous-bellied swallow (Cecropis badia) is a species of swallow that breeds on the Malay Peninsula. It has faintly streaked deep rufous underparts, and an unstreaked rump. It is usually raised to species status from its closest relative, the striated swallow.

Sri Lanka swallow

The Sri Lanka swallow (Cecropis hyperythra) is a large swallow. It is a resident breeder endemic to Sri Lanka. It is closely related to the red-rumped swallow, and was formerly considered a subspecies.

Striated swallow

The striated swallow (Cecropis striolata) is a species of swallow found in open, often hilly areas, clearings and cultivation in South and Southeast Asia to northeastern India and Taiwan.

The striated swallow was formerly sometimes considered to a subspecies of red-rumped swallow.


The swallows, martins and saw-wings, or Hirundinidae, are a family of passerine birds found around the world on all continents, including occasionally in Antarctica. Highly adapted to aerial feeding, they have a distinctive appearance. The term Swallow is used colloquially in Europe as a synonym for the barn swallow. There are around 90 species of Hirundinidae, divided into 19 genera, with the greatest diversity found in Africa, which is also thought to be where they evolved as hole-nesters. They also occur on a number of oceanic islands. A number of European and North American species are long-distance migrants; by contrast, the West and South African swallows are non-migratory.

This family comprises two subfamilies: Pseudochelidoninae (the river martins of the genus Pseudochelidon) and Hirundininae (all other swallows, martins and saw-wings). Within the Old World, the name martin tends to be used for the squarer-tailed species, and the name swallow for the more fork-tailed species; however, there is no scientific distinction between these two groups. Within the New World, "martin" is reserved for members of the genus Progne. (These two systems are responsible for the sand martin being called "bank swallow" in the New World.)


Sypalettus or Sypalettos (Ancient Greek: Συπαληττός) was a deme in ancient Attica of the phyle of Cecropis, sending two delegates to the Athenian Boule.Probably Sypalettus was a divided deme, even if this hypothesis is not confirmed by all scholars. The inscription that suggests the placement of the deme is a sacred calendar of 470-460 BCE; this document it is very important because it is the first Attican written text that prohibits changes to the law.

Its site is located near Nea Ionia (formerly, Kukuvaones).

West African swallow

The West African swallow (Cecropis domicella) is a swallow. It is found in Africa from Senegal to eastern Sudan.

Swallows (family: Hirundinidae)


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