|A barn swallow collecting nest material in Germany|
The bird genus Hirundo is a group of passerines in the family Hirundinidae (swallows and martins). The genus name is Latin for a swallow. 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.
Genetic evidence has recently shown that many of the species previously included in Hirundo are less closely related than their appearance might suggest; 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.
The genus contains fifteen species:
- Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)
- Red-chested swallow (Hirundo lucida)
- Angolan swallow (Hirundo angolensis)
- Pacific swallow (Hirundo tahitica)
- Hill swallow (Hirundo domicola)
- Welcome swallow (Hirundo neoxena)
- White-throated swallow (Hirundo albigularis)
- Ethiopian swallow (Hirundo aethiopica)
- Wire-tailed swallow (Hirundo smithii)
- Blue swallow (Hirundo atrocaerulea)
- White-bibbed swallow (Hirundo nigrita)
- Pied-winged swallow (Hirundo leucosoma)
- White-tailed swallow (Hirundo megaensis)
- Black-and-rufous swallow (Hirundo nigrorufa)
- Pearl-breasted swallow (Hirundo dimidiata)
There are at least two fossil species included in this genus:
- †Hirundo gracilis (late Miocene of Polgardi, Hungary)
- †Hirundo major (Pliocene of Csarnota, Hungary)
Some authorities, either presently or formerly, recognize several additional species as belonging to the genus Hirundo including:
Distribution and habitat
- Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 193. ISBN 1408125013.
- Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Swallows". World Bird List Version 7.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- Kessler, E. (2013). Neogene songbirds (Aves, Passeriformes) from Hungary. Hantkeniana Budapest 8: 37-149.
- "Cecropis domicella - Avibase". avibase.bsc-eoc.org. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
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