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For the taxonomic genus incorporating leeches, see Hirudo.
Hirundo rustica -Saxony, Germany-8.jpg
A barn swallow collecting nest material in Germany
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Subfamily: Hirundininae
Genus: Hirundo
Linnaeus, 1758

14 See text.

The bird genus Hirundo is a group of passerines in the family Hirundinidae (swallows and martins). These are the typical swallows, including the widespread barn swallow. Many of this group have blue backs, red on the face and sometimes the rump or nape, and whitish or rufous underparts. With fourteen species this genus is the largest in its family.

All of the species are found in the Old World, although one, the barn swallow, is cosmopolitan, also occurring in the Americas.

Genetic evidence has recently shown that many of the species previously included in Hirundo are less closely related than their appearance might suggest;[citation needed] these species are sometimes treated in the separate genera Cecropis (e.g. red-rumped swallow Cecropis daurica, previously Hirundo daurica) and Petrochelidon (e.g. cliff swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota, previously Hirundo pyrrhonota); they are as distinct from typical Hirundo as the house martins in the genus Delichon.


Fossil record[edit]

Hirundo gracilis (late Miocene of Polgardi, Hungary)[1]

Hirundo major (Pliocene of Csarnota, Hungary)[1]


  1. ^ a b Kessler, E. (2013). Neogene songbirds (Aves, Passeriformes) from Hungary. Hantkeniana Budapest 8: 37-149.