The red-breasted swallow , also known as the rufous-chested swallow, (Cecropis semirufa) is a large swallow. It breeds in equatorial Africa, although most common in the east. It is partially migratory, following the rains beyond the breeding range in the wet season.
This is a bird of dry open country. In more wooded areas it is replaced by the similar mosque swallow. It builds a closed mud nest with a tubular entrance in a cavity or under bridges and similar structures. It will use deserted buildings, tree holes or caves, and has benefited from the construction of railway bridges and similar structures. Three eggs is a typical clutch.
The red-breasted swallow is like a giant red-rumped swallow, 24 cm long, with blue upperparts other than a reddish collar and rump. The face and underparts are reddish, but the underwings are white with dark flight feathers. The tail is forked, and slightly longer in the male. Juveniles are duller and browner, with less contrast.
It can be distinguished from mosque swallow by the slightly smaller size and longer tail streamers. The dark crown extends below the eye. These birds feed on insects caught in the air. The flight is slow and buoyant.
- BirdLife International (2004). Hirundo semirufa. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.
- Red-breasted swallow - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds.