White-throated Swallow

© Karl Svendsen


White-throated Swallow (Hirundo albigularis)

White-throated Swallow Appearance

The White-throated swallow is a small bird that is around 16 cm in length with both sexes being alike, other than the female having a shallower tail fork. The white-throated swallow has a distinctive white throat and a blue-black breast band. A rufous patch is found on the forehead in front of the eyes.

White-throated Swallow Diet

The White-throated Swallow hunts on the wing and feeds on flying insects.

White-throated Swallow Breeding

The White-throated Swallow is a breeding intra-African migrant. The birds winter in Angola, Zimbabwe and DRC. They start arriving in late July in South Africa and start leaving in April.
The white-throated swallow builds a bowl-shaped mud nest, normally overhanging water. They often use man-made structures like bridges or dam walls. The nest is often reused year after year, by the same breeding pair.
The female incubates the 3 eggs for around 15 days. Both parents feed the chicks for another 21 days until fledging. The young birds will return to the nest to roost at night for up to 2 weeks after fledging.

White-throated Swallow Behaviour

The White-throated Swallow chicks are able to swim for a short distance, if they fall from the nest into the water.

White-throated Swallow Threats


White-throated Swallow Distribution and Habitat

The White-throated Swallow is found most commonly in open country and grassland, normally near water. They are often found around man-made structures, which they use for nesting.
This swallow is found throughout South Africa, excluding the Kalahari area.