Golden swallow

The golden swallow (Tachycineta euchrysea) is a passerine in the swallow family, Hirundinidae. Two subspecies are recognised, the Jamaican T. e. euchrysea and T. e. sclateri of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). It usually inhabits the hills on the interior of islands, preferring open country. Currently, this swallow is restricted to isolated montane forests that primarily consist of the Hispaniolan pine. This species is considered to be a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), although the nominate subspecies, T. e. euchrysea, is likely extinct. The exact cause of extinction is unknown, but likely factors include predation by mammals and habitat loss, although the habitat loss theory is not supported by very much evidence. The last sighting of the nominate subspecies was in Hardwar Gap (located on the boundary between Saint Andrew and Portland parishes), with three birds being seen on 8 June 1989.

A relatively small swallow, the nominate subspecies has bronze upperparts and bronze sides of the head. The ears and lores are duller and the forehead area is more green than bronze. The shoulders, back, rump, and uppertail-coverts are, on the other hand, a coppery-bronze colour. The lesser and median coverts are more coppery, with the greater and primary-wing-coverts being more of a dusky green. The primaries, secondaries, and tail are a dusky bronze-green. The underparts are mostly white. The legs, feet, and irides are dark brown, and the bill is black. The female is similar but with its breast, and occasionally throat and undertail-coverts, being mottled grey-brown. The juvenile is also mottled-grey brown, in addition to it being duller overall. The extant subspecies, T. e. sclateri, is primarily differentiated by its more deeply forked tail, blue-green forehead and uppertail-coverts, and blue-black wings and tail.

In Hispaniola, this swallow breeds from April to July, where it lays a clutch consisting of two to four white eggs. It formerly bred from June to July in Jamaica. The eggs are laid in a cup nest that is mainly found in Hispaniolan pine. It also nests in caves, under the eaves of houses, in burned stands, and in nest boxes. This swallow is an aerial insectivore, foraging for insects at heights that are usually under 20 m (66 ft), and very rarely at heights over 30 m (98 ft). When foraging, it is known to explore most habitats except forests.

Golden swallow
Adult Hispaniolan Golden Swallow perched on artificial nest-box
Adult of the subspecies sclateri perching on a nest box
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Genus: Tachycineta
T. euchrysea
Binomial name
Tachycineta euchrysea
(Gosse, 1847)
Golden swallow map
Range in yellow

Hirundo sclateri Cory, 1884

Taxonomy and etymology

The golden swallow was first described as Hirundo euchrysea by English naturalist Henry Gosse, in his 1847 book The Birds of Jamaica,[2] many years after European settlement of the island. Early naturalists were not aware of this species.[3] The current genus Tachycineta, on the other hand, was originally described in 1850 by the ornithologist Jean Cabanis.[4] The binomial name is from Ancient Greek. Tachycineta is from takhukinetos, "moving quickly", and the specific euchrysea is from eukhrusos, meaning "rich in gold". This is derived from eu, meaning "plenty", and khruseios, meaning "golden".[5]

This species has two subspecies; the second, Tachycineta euchrysea sclateri, was originally suspected of being distinct by Henry Bryant in 1866, who recorded it as "var. dominicensis?" and noted differences in plumage from the nominate subspecies. However, his report lacked a species description.[6] It was finally described as Hirundo sclateri in 1884 by American ornithologist Charles Cory,[7] who felt it distinct enough to warrant separate species status.[8] The subspecies name sclateri is dedicated to Philip Sclater, an English zoologist.[9] The nominate subspecies, T. e. euchrysea, is likely extinct.[1]

This swallow, along with the violet-green swallow and Bahama swallow, comprise a clade. It is also considered to be of the subgenus Tachycineta, the nominate subgenus, in addition to the violet-green swallow, Bahama swallow, and tree swallow.[10]


Tachycineta euchrysea 1894
The nominate subspecies, T. e. euchrysea

A small swallow, the golden swallow measures, on average, 12 cm (4.7 in). The adult of the nominate subspecies' upperparts, including the sides of the head, the cheek, and the chin, are an iridescent bronze. The ear coverts and lores are duller, and the forehead, crown, and nape are more green. This contrasts with the golden or coppery-bronze colouring of the mantle, shoulders, back, rump, and uppertail-coverts. The lesser and median-coverts are more coppery, with the greater and primary wing-coverts being more green and dusky. The edges of the greater coverts and tertials are more golden. The primaries, secondaries, tail, axillaries, and underwing-coverts are dusky bronze-green, with the axillaries and underwing-coverts only having this colour on the edges. The tail is only slightly forked on the nominate subspecies, unlike the more deeply forked tail of the other subspecies, sclateri. Its underparts are white, with dusky bronze streaks on the flanks. The legs and the feet are dark brown and the bill is black. Its irides are also dark brown. The female is similar, although some of the underparts, specifically the breast and occasionally the throat and undertail-coverts, are mottled grey-brown.[11] The mottling around the breast and collar is likely to decrease over time.[12] The juvenile, like the female, is mottled grey-brown. The juvenile also has less glossy plumage and the sides of its head are a dusky grey.[11]

Tachycineta euchrysea sclateri 1894
Sketch of the subspecies T. e. sclateri

The other subspecies, sclateri, has slightly longer wings and a smaller bill. The plumage is less golden, with the forehead and uppertail-coverts being blue-green, and with both the wings and tail being blue-black.[11] The underparts of T. e. sclateri also vary in being pure white without streaks.[13]

This bird has a soft, two-note call, often described as a tchee-weet, that is repeated.[1][11]

Distribution and habitat

The golden swallow is native to the islands of Hispaniola and Jamaica, although the sole subspecies that resides in Jamaica, Tachycineta euchrysea euchrysea, is likely extinct. It is found up to elevations of 2,000 m (6,600 ft), from sea-level in Jamaica, and from 800 m (2,600 ft) in Hispaniola.[1] It is likely that this species, when not breeding, moves down to lower altitudes.[11] The estimated extent of occurrence for this swallow is 8,100 km2 (3,100 sq mi).[1] Primarily inhabiting hills of the interior of islands, this swallow prefers open country, but will occasionally be seen in forests and over towns.[11] It is restricted to patches of montane forest that consists primarily of Hispaniolan pine.[12] Never common in Jamaica, it was restricted to mountainous limestone country in the island's interior.[3]



The golden swallow usually builds its deep cup nest in dead snags, especially those of the Hispaniolan pine, in holes created by woodpeckers,[11] primarily the Hispaniolan woodpecker. It also nests in caves, under the eaves of houses, and in recently burned stands.[14] The nests are made with fine vegetable fibres like silk, cotton, and pappus, with the seeds being broken off from the fibres. The nests are lined with cotton, silk, and feathers. One nest had a diameter of about 12 cm (4.7 in), and a depth of about 5 cm (2.0 in).[11][12]

The breeding season occurs from June to July in Jamaica, and from April to July in Hispaniola.[11] When breeding, the golden swallow usually nests in pairs and occasionally will nest in colonies.[14] This swallow is not known to compete for nests with any other birds. The only species, an insect, that is known to inhabit nest boxes occupied by golden swallows is Polyancistrus loripes, a species of katydid. Only about 9.6% of nesting attempts are second nesting attempts, although this number may be low.[12]

The clutch of this swallow is two to four white to creamy white eggs with little spotting.[14] The eggs measure around 18.4 mm × 13.1 mm (0.72 in × 0.52 in), and weigh 1.7 g (0.060 oz) on average. They are generally laid one per day, although there are instances of the female skipping a day in laying. The incubation period ranges from 17 to 20 days, with the female incubating the young. The young usually fledge 24 to 27 days after they hatch.[12]


This species is an aerial insectivore,[11] usually feeding on flies, Hemiptera (or true bugs), and various other insects. It usually can be seen to forage low to the ground, either by itself or in small groups.[11] It is not usually found to forage above 20 m (66 ft), and very rarely above 30 m (98 ft). Black swifts flying below 20 m (66 ft) are frequently found near golden swallows when the swallows are foraging. It is known to forage in most habitats except the forest. Generally, the golden swallow starts to forage at dawn, with activity increasing in the morning and decreasing during the afternoon.[12]


The golden swallow is victim to various mammalian nest predators, including the introduced Indian mongoose, feral cats, and multiple species of rats.[14] These predators are thought to be linked to the extinction of the nominate subspecies.[3] Nests on or near the ground in mines are especially vulnerable.[14]


Adult female Hispaniolan Golden Swallow in hand
Adult female T. e. sclateri in hand

The golden swallow is considered to be a vulnerable species by the IUCN. This status is on account of the small, fragmented, and decreasing population and range. The nominate subspecies is presumed to be extinct, possibly because of habitat loss and predation. The remaining T. e. sclateri population is declining, mostly due to shifting agriculture and predation by introduced mammalian species.[15] The population is estimated to be anywhere from 1,500 to 7,000 mature birds, in an area estimated to be 8,100 km2 (3,100 sq mi).[1]

This swallow is legally protected in Jamaica,[11] although it is presumed to be extinct there.[1] Not known to the early settlers on the island,[3] it was considered to be common in the 1800s, but it declined and eventually became rare in the 1890s. In the last half of the 1900s, it was restricted to the area of Cockpit Country east to the Blue Mountains.[15] The last specimens collected were a pair from Portland Parish on 9 August 1908; the last confirmed sighting was in the Blue Mountains in 1950. It was regarded as rare from the 1960s to the 1980s, although its precarious status was not realised at the time.[3] In 1987, the last major roosting site of this subspecies was destroyed.[15] Birdwatchers in the Gosse Bird Club reported two probable sightings of several birds on Barbecue Bottom Road in Trelawny Parish in August and September 1982, while the last (and unconfirmed) report is of three birds at Hardwar Gap (located on the boundary between Saint Andrew and Portland parishes) on 8 June 1989.[3]

Curator of Birds Gary R. Graves of the Smithsonian Institution spent 18 years scouring the island for evidence of the taxon without success. He is doubtful of its survival as it is diurnal and Jamaica is a popular destination for birdwatchers. The exact cause of the likely extinction is unknown, but predation by introduced mammals, especially the black rat but possibly also the Indian mongoose, is thought to be a factor. Graves points out that there is little evidence that habitat loss has played a role.[3] Graves also added that the swallows adapted to nesting in man-made structures.[3] In general, this swallow is not affected by being near human disturbance.[12] It is proposed that nest boxes be used to counter habitat loss and predation.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g BirdLife International (2012). "Tachycineta euchrysea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  2. ^ Gosse, Philip Henry (1847). The Birds of Jamaica. London: J. Van Voorst. p. 68.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Graves, Gary R. (2013). "Historical decline and probable extinction of the Jamaican Golden Swallow Tachycineta euchrysea euchrysea". Bird Conservation International. 24 (2): 239–251. doi:10.1017/S095927091300035X. ISSN 0959-2709.
  4. ^ Cabanis, Jean (1850). Museum Heineanum : Verzeichniss der ornithologischen Sammlung des Oberamtmann Ferdinand Heine auf Gut St. Burchard vor Halberstatdt (in German). 1. Halbertstadt: Independently commissioned by R. Frantz. p. 48.
  5. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 151, 377. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  6. ^ Bryant, Henry (1866). "A list of the birds of St. Domingo, with descriptions of some mew species or varieties". Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History. 11: 95.
  7. ^ Cory, Charles Barney (1884). The Birds of Haiti and San Domingo. Boston: Estes & Lauriat. pp. 45–46. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.87784.
  8. ^ Cory, Charles Barney (1884). "Description of several new birds from Santo Domingo". The Auk. 1 (2): 1–4.
  9. ^ Turner, Angela. del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew; Sargatal, Jordi; Christie, David A.; de Juana, Eduardo (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  10. ^ Whittingham, Linda A.; Slikas, Beth; Winkler, David W.; Sheldon, Frederick H. (2002). "Phylogeny of the tree swallow genus, Tachycineta (Aves: Hirundinidae), by Bayesian analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 22 (3): 430–441. doi:10.1006/mpev.2001.1073. PMID 11884168.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Turner, Angela (2010). A Handbook to the Swallows and Martins of the World. London: A & C Black. pp. 110–112. ISBN 978-1-4081-3172-5.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Proctor, Christopher Justin (2016). Discovering Gold in the Greater Antilles – The Natural History and Breeding Biology of the Hispaniolan Golden Swallow, Followed By the Status of the Critically Endangered Jamaican Golden Swallow (PDF) (Master of Science). Cornell University.
  13. ^ Ridgway, Robert; Friedmann, Herbert (1904). The birds of North and Middle America: a descriptive catalogue of the higher groups, genera, species, and subspecies of birds known to occur in North America, from the Arctic lands to the Isthmus of Panama, the West Indies and other islands of the Caribbean sea, and the Galapagos Archipelago. Part 3. Washington DC: Smithsonian Museum. pp. 101–102.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Townsend, Jason M.; Garrido, Esteban; Mejia, Danilo A. (2008). "Nests and nesting behavior of golden swallow (Tachycineta euchrysea) in abandoned bauxite mines in the Dominican Republic". The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 120 (4): 867–871. doi:10.1676/08-001.1. ISSN 1559-4491.
  15. ^ a b c Hume, Julian P.; Walters, Michael (March 19, 2012). Extinct Birds. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 253. ISBN 978-1-4081-5862-3.

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)

Chang Cheh

Chang Cheh (pinyin: Zhāng Chè; 10 February 1923 – 22 June 2002) was a Chinese filmmaker, screenwriter, lyricist and producer active in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Chang Cheh directed more than 90 films in Greater China, the majority of them with the Shaw Brothers Studio in Hong Kong. Most of his films are action films, especially wuxia and kung fu films filled with violence.

In the early 1970s he frequently cast actors David Chiang and Ti Lung in his films. In the late 1970s he mainly worked with a group of actors known as the Venom Mob. Chang Cheh is also known for his long-time collaboration with writer Ni Kuang.

Cheng Pei-pei

Cheng Pei-pei (born 6 January 1946) is a Chinese actress perhaps best known for her performance in the 1966 King Hu wuxia film Come Drink with Me. She is more recently known for her portrayal of Jade Fox in the award-winning 2000 wuxia film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Cliff Lok

Cliff Lok, also Koo Lung, Ku Lung, Gam Tung, Chin Tong, Chin Tung, Lung Goon-Ting, Lung Kuan-Ting, Kan Tung, Kam Tung and Cliff Lok Kam Tung (Chinese: 古龙) (born 11 September 1948) is a retired Chinese film actor and martial artist who worked in the Cinema of Hong Kong. He began his career at the Peking Opera. He starred in at least 60 films between 1966 and 2001, most of them wuxia/martial arts pictures of the late 1960s and the 1970s. Films include One-Armed Swordsman (1967), Golden Swallow (1968), Return of the One-Armed Swordsman (1969), The Wandering Swordsman (1970), King Eagle (1971) and The Black Enforcer (1972).

Come Drink with Me

Come Drink with Me is a 1966 Hong Kong wuxia film directed by King Hu. Set during the Ming Dynasty, it stars Cheng Pei-pei and Yueh Hua as warriors with Chan Hung-lit as the villain, and features action choreography by Han Ying-chieh. It is widely considered one of the best Hong Kong films ever made. The film was selected as the Hong Kong entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 39th Academy Awards, but was not nominated.

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.

Golden Swallow (1968 film)

Golden Swallow, also known as The Girl with the Thunderbolt Kick, is a 1968 Hong Kong wuxia film directed by Chang Cheh.It was produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio, starring Cheng Pei-pei, Jimmy Wang, Lo Lieh and Chao Hsin-yen. Cheng Pei-pei reprises her role from Come Drink with Me. The film has been released on DVD from Dragon Dynasty.

Jimmy Wang Yu

Jimmy Wang Yu (Chinese: 王羽; born March 28, 1943) is a Taiwanese actor, film director, producer and screenwriter. Wang rose to fame in 1967 with his starring role in One-Armed Swordsman, a martial arts film produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio and The Chinese Boxer (1970).

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.

Sanjaasürengiin Zorig

Sanjaasurengiin Zorig (Mongolian: Санжаасүрэнгийн Зориг, 20 April 1962 – 2 October 1998) was a prominent Mongolian politician and leader of the country's 1990 democratic revolution. He is called the "Golden Swallow of Democracy" (Mongolian: Ардчиллын алтан хараацай, "ardchillyn altan kharaatsai"). After his death, his sister Oyuun entered politics and founded the Civic Will Party.


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.

Siola d'oro

The Siola d'oro ("Golden Swallow") is a biennial opera prize awarded in Gatteo since 1983, in memory of Lina Pagliughi.The award has been given to: Luciana Serra, June Anderson, Mariella Devia, Denia Mazzola, Enedina Lloris, Sumi Jo, Valeria Esposito, Patrizia Ciofi (1997), Jessica Pratt (soprano), Elizabeth Vidal, Stefania Bonfadelli, Annick Massis, Elena Mosuc, Pretty Yende.

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.


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.)


Tachycineta (Greek: tachýs "fast", kīnéō "move") is a genus of birds in the swallow family. There are nine described species. Its members are restricted to the Americas.

These are slender swallows with forked tails. Most species have a metallic green back, green or blue head, and metallic blue or unglossed brown wings. All have pure white underparts, and four species have a white rump.

Most Tachycineta swallows are at least partially migratory, with only golden and mangrove swallow being essentially resident. All the species use natural or disused cavities for nest sites.

Swallows (family: Hirundinidae)


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