White-backed swallow

The white-backed swallow (Cheramoeca leucosterna) is a member of the family Hirundinidae and is endemic to Australia.[2] It is monotypic within the genus Cheramoeca.[3] As with all swallows within the family Hirundinidae, it is characterised by adaptation to aerial feeding. The white-backed swallow can be identified by its white back, surrounded by black wings and tail. The white-backed swallow has a wide distribution, from the southern part of the Australian continent, up to the Tropic of Capricorn. The white-backed swallow prefers grasslands and will create a burrow nest.

Cheramoeca leucosterna ASWSP - Christopher Watson
Sitting white-backed swallow
White-backed swallow
Cheramoeca leucosterna ASWSP 2 - Christopher Watson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Genus: Cheramoeca
Cabanis, 1850
Species:
C. leucosterna
Binomial name
Cheramoeca leucosterna
(Gould, 1841)
White-backed swallow habitat

Taxonomy

John Gould first described the white-backed swallow in 1841 and included it in his publication “The Birds of Australia”. The white-backed swallow is also sometimes referred to as “Black-and-white Swallow", "White-breasted Swallow", "White-capped Swallow.". A taxonomic synonym for Cheramoeca leucosterna is Cheramoeca leucosternus.[4]

Description

The birds of Australia (17065696432)
Birds of Australia Cheramoeca Leucosterna

An adult white-backed swallows averages 15 cm long, similar in size to other swallows found within Australia.[5] The adult has a mottled grey cap above white eyebrows and a grey eye stripe across the nape of the neck. The back and most of the breast is white. The belly, wings and tail are black.

The white-backed swallow has a deeply forked tail, with curved and pointed wings. The short bill is black; the legs and feet are grey. They have a slender, streamlined body. Their eyes consist of a prominent, dark iris. The sexes have similar colouring but during adolescence the white-backed swallow has duller colours.[6]

Distribution and habitat

White-backed Swallows are endemic to Australia and have a wide population distribution on the continent. They can be found from the southern latitudes of Australia and their range extends to the Tropic of Capricorn. Occasionally, after inland rainfall, white-backed swallows can extend their range to encompass the entire southern portion of Australia including the desert regions. White-backed Swallows prefer open country, above open grassland and low shrubs. During the breeding season, they have a strong preference for habitats around creek beds.[7]

There is no population count, but the species is reported to be common.[8] Due to range expansion from land clearance and mining, the population is estimated to be increasing. Due to the large range and increasing population, the white-backed swallow is categorised as least concern.

Cheramoeca leucosterna ASWSP pair - Christopher Watson
Pair of swallows on barbed wire fence

Behaviour

White-backed Swallows are insectivorous and feed in-flight on insects, like all known swallows. The composition of its diet varies by geographic region and with the time of year. The white-backed swallow typically nests by digging a horizontal tunnel into a vertical dirt cliff.[9] Predation of swallows nests is known to occur, typically from foxes and cats.[10]

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Cheramoeca leucosterna". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22712165A94322699. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22712165A94322699.en. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  2. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Cheramoeca leucosterna". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  3. ^ "ITIS Report: Cheramoeca". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  4. ^ Christidis, Les; Boles, Walter (2008-01-01). Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. Csiro Publishing. ISBN 9780643065116.
  5. ^ Christidis, Les; Boles, Walter (2008-01-01). Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. Csiro Publishing. ISBN 9780643065116.
  6. ^ "White-backed Swallow (Cheramoeca leucosterna)". www.hbw.com. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  7. ^ Morcombe, Michael (2004-04-19). Field Guide to Australian Birds.
  8. ^ Turner, Rose, A, C (1989). Swallows and martins of the world. Christopher Helm, London.
  9. ^ "White-backed Swallow (Cheramoeca leucosterna) - BirdLife species factsheet". www.birdlife.org. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  10. ^ Read, John; Bowen, Zoë (2001-01-01). "Population dynamics, diet and aspects of the biology of feral cats and foxes in arid South Australia". Wildlife Research. 28 (2): 195–203. doi:10.1071/wr99065.

[[File:The birds of Australia (17065696432).jpg|The birds of Australia (17065696432)]]

Atticora

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.

Ethiopian swallow

The Ethiopian swallow (Hirundo aethiopica) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae. Although it is non-migratory, its range is wide, extending from Benin to Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Israel, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda.

Fanti saw-wing

The Fanti saw-wing (Psalidoprocne obscura), also known as the Fanti rough-winged swallow, is a small passerine bird in the swallow family.

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.

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

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.

Saw-wing

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

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.

White-bibbed swallow

The white-bibbed swallow (Hirundo nigrita), also known as the white-throated blue swallow, is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae. It is found in Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.

Swallows (family: Hirundinidae)

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