House swallow

Hirundo tahitica

SUBFAMILY

Hirundinae

TAXONOMY

Hirundo tahitica Gmelin, 1789. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Hill swallow, Pacific sea swallow, Pacific swallow, welcome swallow; French: Hirondelle de Tahiti; German: Süd-seeschwalbe; Spanish: Golondrina Pacífica.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.1 in (13 cm). The back, wings, and tail are colored glossy purple-black, with a reddish face and chin and a brown-streaked belly. The tail is deeply forked.

DISTRIBUTION

Southern India, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and many Pacific islands.

HABITAT

Occurs in open tropical habitats, usually in the vicinity of coastal water.

BEHAVIOR

A non-migratory species that uses song and aerial display to defend a breeding site and attract a mate. The song is a loud twittering.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds on insects that are caught in flight.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous. Builds a cup-shaped nest of mud and some plant fibers that is attached to a cliff or building. The clutch size ranges from one to three eggs. The eggs are incubated by the female, but both parents feed the young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. A widespread and locally abundant species.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Not of much importance to humans, other than the indirect economic benefits of ecotourism focused on birding. ♦

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