Conservation status

Five species of hirundines are at risk. The white-eyed river martin (Eurychelidon sirintarae) of Thailand is listed as Critically Endangered, although it has not been seen for more than 20 years and may already be Extinct. Four other species are listed as Vulnerable. They are the blue swallow (Hirundo atrocaerulea) of tropical and southern Africa, the white-tailed swallow (H. megaensis) of Ethiopia, the Bahama swallow (Tachycineta cyaneoviridis) of the Bahamas, Cuba, and the extreme southeastern United States, and the golden swallow (T. euchrysea) of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica. Four additional species are listed as Data Deficient, meaning they are likely at risk but additional research is required to conclusively demonstrate this. These additional species are the Red Sea cliff-swallow (Hirundo perdita) of Sudan, Brazza's swallow (Phedina brazzae) of Angola, Congo, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sinaloa martin (Progne sinaloae) of Guatemala and Mexico, and the African river-martin (Pseudochelidon eurystomina) of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gabon.

However, current research and monitoring of the distribution and abundance of rare swallow species is incomplete. Local climate changes can cause local population declines, and competition for nest sites from abundant non-native cavity nesters, such as house sparrows (Passer domesticus) and starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), has caused local declines in swallow and martin populations. Pollution and insecticides are also suspected to have caused declines in swallow populations due to reductions of insect populations, contamination of mud used to build nests, and direct poisoning of birds. Habitat destruction also is a concern for all threatened swallows.

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