White-banded swallow

The white-banded swallow (Atticora fasciata) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae. They are black with white thighs, a white breast, and white bars on the edges of its wings. They have a distinct, deeply forked tail.

It is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela, in tropical lowlands. They are non-migratory.

Its natural habitats are rivers and forested areas. They nest in burrows and do not use artificial cavities.

It is evaluated as least-concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

White-banded swallow
White-banded swallow (Atticora fasciata)
Cristalino River, Southern Amazon, Brazil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Genus: Atticora
A. fasciata
Binomial name
Atticora fasciata
(Gmelin, 1789)
Atticora fasciata map
Range of white-banded swallow      Resident range

Taxonomy and etymology

The genus name Atticora is from Ancient Greek Atthi, "Athenian", and kora "maiden". Such terms were often applied to swallows and swifts. The specific fasciata is from Latin fascia, "band".[2] This swallow is monotypic.[3]


White-banded swallows (Atticora fasciata)
On the Cristalino River, Southern Amazon, Brazil

The white-banded swallow is a medium-sized swallow, measuring, on average, 15 centimetres (5.9 in) and weighing 12–16 grams (0.42–0.56 oz). They usually have a wingspan of 92–108 millimetres (3.6–4.3 in). They decline in size from north to south, but this is a gradual decline, which suggests that there is no geographical variation. It is black, except for the band on its breast, its thighs, and bars on the edge of its wings, which are all white. It also has blackish-brown underwing coverts. Their feathers have a blue-black luster. This swallow has a deeply forked tail. The sexes are similar, although the females weigh slightly more on average (12–14 g (0.42–0.49 oz) for the males, 12.8–15.8 g (0.45–0.56 oz) for the females). The juveniles are noted to be duller and browner, with shorter and paler feathers.[4][3][5]

It should not be confused with the black-collared swallow, which has white underparts and throat.[6]

The call of this swallow is described as a ti-ti-tur. These swallows also have a buzzy z-z-z-z-ee-eep call, which is usually given in flight.[4]


This bird is native to Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.[1] It can be found to nest in tropical lowland evergreen forests near water and near both blackwater rivers and whitewater rivers, in forested areas.[3] They are more frequently found near blackwater rivers in Columbia and Venezuela, nesting on rocky outcrops. Although they are found near water, they are rarely found over lakes. They are sometimes found over forested clearings.[6] They usually do not occur above 800 metres (2,600 ft), although they do occur up to 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) in Columbia. These swallows are also non-migratory.[4]



The white-banded swallow nests in a burrow. It is thought that these swallows dig their own burrows, occasionally digging nests in riverbanks when the water is low, but they most likely also use abandoned burrows. The nest is made of dry grass. They do not use artificial nesting sites.[4] These birds usually breed alone or in small colonies.[3][6] At dusk, these birds can also be seen to roost in small groups.[5]

This swallow has a clutch of four to five white eggs, usually measuring 18.5 by 12.8 millimetres (0.73 in × 0.50 in).[5][7]


These birds are insectivores and feed in the air. When foraging, they fly rapidly in a zigzag path or circle above the water, skimming the water in some cases. They occasionally perch on boulders or small outcroppings above the water.[6] They forage low over the water and occasionally near forests, clearings, or grassy areas with bushes.[4] These birds usually forage alone or in small groups, occasionally with the black-collared swallow and the white-winged swallow.[3] Although this is true, they usually stay closer to rocks.[5]


Although their population is declining, this swallow is classified as a leas-concern species by the IUCN. This is because of its large range, population, and the fact that the population is not decreasing fast enough to be classified as vulnerable. Their range is estimated to be 7,260,000 square kilometres (2,800,000 sq mi). The reason for the decline in population of this species is the fact that they are estimated to lose 12.8—13.8% of suitable habitat over 12 years, or 3 generations.[1]


  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Atticora fasciata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. pp. 60, 158. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ a b c d e del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew; Sargatal, Jordi; Christie, David A; de Juana, Eduardo, eds. (2013). "White-banded Swallow (Atticora fasciata)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e Piland, Natalia (2010). T. S. Schulenberg (ed.). "White-banded Swallow (Atticora fasciata), Neotropical Birds Online". Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Turner, Angela K; Rose, Chris (1989). Swallows & Martins: An Identification Guide and Handbook. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 118–119. ISBN 0-395-51174-7.
  6. ^ a b c d Hilty, Steven (2003). Birds of Venezuela. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 689. ISBN 9780691092508.
  7. ^ Richard Bowdler Sharpe; Claude Wilmott Wyatt (1894). A Monograph of the Hirundinidae: Or Family of Swallows. authors. p. 495. Retrieved December 22, 2016.

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.

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.

Greater striped swallow

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

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 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.


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.

Streak-throated swallow

The streak-throated swallow or the Indian cliff swallow (Petrochelidon fluvicola) is a species of swallow found as Native (breeder, year-round resident or winter visitor) in South Asia in the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. It occurs as a Vagrant in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and the Middle-east.

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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