Tachycineta (Greek: tachýs "fast", kīnéō "move")[1] 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.

Tachycineta bicolor1
Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Subfamily: Hirundininae
Genus: Tachycineta
Cabanis, 1850

see text

Tachycineta distribution map

Species in taxonomic order

Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
Tachycineta bicolor Tachycineta bicolor Tree swallow north-central Alaska and up to the tree line in Canada and as far south as Tennessee in the eastern part of its range, California and New Mexico in the west, and Kansas in the centre
Tachycineta thalassina -San Luis Obispo, California, USA -male-8 Tachycineta thalassina Violet-green swallow central Alaska down to Mexico
Adult Hispaniolan Golden Swallow perched on artificial nest-box Tachycineta euchrysea Golden swallow Hispaniola and Jamaica
Bahama Swallow Tachycineta cyaneoviridis Bahama swallow northern Bahamas: Andros, Grand Bahama, Abaco, and New Providence
Tachycineta stolzmanni Tumbes swallow northwestern Peru and far southwestern Ecuador.
Mangrove Swallow Tachycineta albilinea Mangrove swallow native to Mexico and all of Central America (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama)
White-winged Swallow 1052 Tachycineta albiventer White-winged swallow tropical South America from Colombia, Venezuela, and Trinidad south to northern Argentina.
Golondrina rabadilla blanca Tachycineta leucorrhoa Dario Niz Tachycineta leucorrhoa White-rumped swallow Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay
Andorinha-chilena (Tachycineta leucopyga) Tachycineta leucopyga Chilean swallow Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Falkland Islands, Paraguay, and Uruguay.


  1. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 377. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.

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)

Bahama swallow

The Bahama swallow (Tachycineta cyaneoviridis) is a swallow found only in the Bahamas.

Chilean swallow

The Chilean swallow (Tachycineta leucopyga) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae. It breeds in Chile and Patagonia, migrating north as far as Bolivia, Paraguay, and Rio Grande do Sul.

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.

Mangrove swallow

The mangrove swallow (Tachycineta albilinea) is a passerine bird in the swallow family that breeds in coastal regions from Mexico through Central America to Panama. It has blue-green upperparts, blackish flight feathers, a white rump, a black tail, and white underparts. It can be identified by the supraloral white streak, the white line near its eye, which only occurs in two other species of Tachycineta: the violet-green swallow and the white-rumped swallow. The sexes, although similar in plumage, differ slightly in size. The juveniles have grey-brown upperparts and white-washed underparts. This swallow's song is generally described as a soft trilling, with a rolled jeerrt call, and a sharp alarm note.

The mangrove swallow is very territorial when breeding, much like the related tree swallow. Its nest is normally built in a hole or crevice near water and less than 2 metres (7 ft) above the ground. This species usually feeds alone when breeding, but will feed in groups when not. It normally forages closer to the nest when hunting for its chicks, but will go much further when foraging for itself. In between foraging attempts, it is frequently seen perching near water. It is an aerial insectivore and eats unusually large prey for its size.

With an estimated population of at least 500,000 individuals, the mangrove swallow is classified as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its numbers are decreasing, although not fast enough for it to be classified as vulnerable. Little is known about the predation of this species, although it is a host of Sternostoma hirundinis, a type of nasal mite. It has also been known to lose nests both to termites and black flies.

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.


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.

Sibley-Monroe checklist 15

The Sibley-Monroe checklist was a landmark document in the study of birds. It drew on extensive DNA-DNA hybridisation studies to reassess the relationships between modern birds.

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.


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.)

Tree swallow

The tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) is a migratory bird of the family Hirundinidae. Found in the Americas, the tree swallow was first described in 1807 by French ornithologist Louis Vieillot as Hirundo bicolor. It has since been moved to its current genus, Tachycineta, within which its phylogenetic placement is debated. The tree swallow has glossy blue-green upperparts, with the exception of the blackish wings and tail, and white underparts. The bill is black, the eyes dark brown, and the legs and feet pale brown. The female is generally duller than the male, and the first-year female has mostly brown upperparts, with some blue feathers. Juveniles have brown upperparts, and a grey-brown-washed breast. The tree swallow breeds in the US and Canada. It winters along southern US coasts south, along the Gulf Coast, to Panama and the northwestern coast of South America, and in the West Indies.

The tree swallow nests either in isolated pairs or loose groups, in both natural and artificial cavities. Breeding can start as soon as early May, although this date is occurring earlier because of climate change, and it can end as late as July. This bird is generally socially monogamous (although about 8% of males are polygynous), with high levels of extra-pair paternity. This can benefit the male, but since the female controls copulation, the lack of resolution on how this behaviour benefits females makes the high level of extra-pair paternity puzzling. The female incubates the clutch of two to eight (but usually four to seven) pure white eggs, usually for 14 to 15 days. The chicks hatch slightly asynchronously, allowing for the female to prioritize which chicks to feed in times of food shortage. They generally fledge about 18 to 22 days after hatching. The tree swallow is sometimes considered a model organism, due to the large amount of research done on it.

An aerial insectivore, the tree swallow forages both alone and in groups, eating mostly insects, in addition to molluscs, spiders, and fruit. The nestlings, like the adult, primarily eat insects, fed to it by both sexes. This swallow is vulnerable to parasites, but, when on nestlings, these do little damage. The effect of disease can become stronger as a tree swallow gets older, as some parts of the immune system decline with age. Acquired T cell-mediated immunity, for example, decreases with age, whereas both innate and acquired humoral immunity do not. Because of its large range and stable population, the tree swallow is considered to be least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In the US, it is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, and in Canada by the Migratory Birds Convention Act. This swallow is negatively affected by human activities, such as the clearing of forests; acidified lakes can force a breeding tree swallow to go long distances to find calcium-rich food items to feed to its chicks.

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.

Violet-green swallow

The violet-green swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) is a small North American passerine bird in the swallow family. These aerial insectivores are distributed along the west coast from Alaska to Mexico, extending as far east as Montana and Texas. With an appearance very similar to the tree swallow, these individuals can be identified by the white rump side-patches that appear to separate their green back and purple tail. Violet-green swallows are secondary cavity nesters, found in a number of habitats including deciduous and coniferous forests. In addition to nesting in tree holes within these habitats, they are also widely observed nesting in the cracks of large cliffs.

White-rumped swallow

The white-rumped swallow (Tachycineta leucorrhoa) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae. First described and given its binomial name by French ornithologist Louis Vieillot in 1817, it was for many years considered a subspecies of the Chilean swallow. The species is monotypic with no known population variations. It has a white supraloral streak, or streak above its lores (the region between a bird's eye and nostrils), which can be used to differentiate it from the Chilean swallow. The lores, ear coverts, tail, and wings are black, with white tips on the inner secondaries, tertials, and greater coverts of the wings. The rest of the upperparts are a glossy blue. Its underparts and underwing-coverts are white, in addition to the rump, as the name suggests. The sexes are similar, and the juvenile is duller and browner with a dusky breast.

This species usually builds its nest in holes in trees or dead snags or under or in artificial structures like fence posts and the eaves of buildings. The white-rumped swallow is solitary and nests in distributed pairs during the breeding season. The breeding season is from October to December in Brazil and from October to February in neighboring Argentina. Usually, only one brood with four to seven eggs is laid, although a second one will occasionally be laid. The female incubates the eggs over a period usually between 15 and 16 days, with the fledging after usually between 21 and 25 days.

This swallow is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Its natural habitats are dry savanna, pastureland, the edge of forests, and subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland. It is classified as a least-concern species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its population is increasing and it may benefit from the increase in availability of artificial nest sites. The shiny cowbird is an occasional brood parasite of the white-rumped swallow.

White-winged swallow

The white-winged swallow (Tachycineta albiventer) is a resident breeding swallow in tropical South America from Colombia, Venezuela, and Trinidad south to northern Argentina. It is not found west of the Andes. This swallow is largely non-migratory.

Swallows (family: Hirundinidae)


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