Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) - HBW 9, p. 665

French: Hirondelle rustique German: Rauchschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina Común
Other common names: Swallow, Chimney/Common/House/Rustic Swallow; American Barn Swallow (erythrogaster); European/Eurasian Swallow (rustica); Nile/Egyptian Swallow (savignii)

Taxonomy: Hirundo rustica Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden.
Forms a superspecies with H. lucida, H. angolensis, H. tahitica, H. neoxena, H. albigularis and H. aethiopica, at least some of which have sometimes been considered conspecific with present species. Taxonomy uncertain; races possibly constitute two or more species, with sister-taxa in North America and Siberia. American race erythrogaster most resembles E Asian forms in colour and breastband pattern, but mitochondrial-DNA studies, combined with behaviour, suggest that it may be a separate species from that in Old World; proposed race insular.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Hirundo rustica Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden.
Forms a superspecies with H. lucida, H. angolensis, H. tahitica, H. neoxena, H. albigularis and H. aethiopica, at least some of which have sometimes been considered conspecific with present species. Taxonomy uncertain; races possibly constitute two or more species, with sister-taxa in North America and Siberia. American race erythrogaster most resembles E Asian forms in colour and breastband pattern, but mitochondrial-DNA studies, combined with behaviour, suggest that it may be a separate species from that in Old World; proposed race insularis, from islands in N Gulf of Mexico, considered inseparable from mainland breeders. Populations in Eurasia intergrade; mandschurica often included in saturata, which itself is often subsumed in gutturalis or tytleri; birds from N India (Sikkim), originally described as separate race ambigua, probably belong in gutturalis, although sometimes included in nominate. In addition, clinal variation apparent: tail length decreases from N to S, and in Eurasia size decreases from NW & NE to S & E. Hybridizes with Petrochelidon pyrrhonota and P. fulva in America, and with Delichon urbicum in Europe and Asia. Eight subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • erythrogaster Boddaert, 1783 - breeds North America from S Alaska and W & S Canada (S from S Yukon, CW Mackenzie, N Saskatchewan, N Manitoba, N Ontario, SC Quebec and S Newfoundland) S through most of USA (except extreme SW, also S Florida) to Mexico (NW Baja California, and interior S to Colima, Michoacán and Puebla); also South America in E Argentina (N Buenos Aires). Winters from Pacific slope of C Mexico and W Panama, and E West Indies (Puerto Rico, Lesser Antilles), S through most of South America.
  • rustica Linnaeus, 1758 - Europe and W Asia from Ireland, Britain and N Scandinavia E to C Russia (E to R Yenisey), W Mongolia and W China, S to Mediterranean, N Africa (E to Libya), Iraq and C Himalayas; winters mainly sub-Saharan Africa, also S Asia.
  • savignii Stephens, 1817 - Egypt (Nile Valley).

     See all 8 subspecies
  • erythrogaster Boddaert, 1783 - breeds North America from S Alaska and W & S Canada (S from S Yukon, CW Mackenzie, N Saskatchewan, N Manitoba, N Ontario, SC Quebec and S Newfoundland) S through most of USA (except extreme SW, also S Florida) to Mexico (NW Baja California, and interior S to Colima, Michoacán and Puebla); also South America in E Argentina (N Buenos Aires). Winters from Pacific slope of C Mexico and W Panama, and E West Indies (Puerto Rico, Lesser Antilles), S through most of South America.
  • rustica Linnaeus, 1758 - Europe and W Asia from Ireland, Britain and N Scandinavia E to C Russia (E to R Yenisey), W Mongolia and W China, S to Mediterranean, N Africa (E to Libya), Iraq and C Himalayas; winters mainly sub-Saharan Africa, also S Asia.
  • savignii Stephens, 1817 - Egypt (Nile Valley).
  • transitiva (Hartert, 1910) - Lebanon, Syria, Israel and W Jordan.
  • tytleri Jerdon, 1864 - SC Siberia (R Yenisey E to Yakutskaya) S to N Inner Mongolia; winters E India and SE Asia.
  • saturata Ridgway, 1883 - E Russia (Kamchatka and Sea of Okhotsk coast S to mid-Amur Basin); winters SE Asia.
  • mandschurica Meise, 1934 - NE China; winters SE Asia.
  • gutturalis Scopoli, 1786 - E Himalayas, S, C & E China, Korea and lower R Amur E to Kuril Is, Japan and Taiwan, also possibly irregularly in Kamchatka; winters S & SE Asia S to N Australia.