Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Black-capped Swallow (Atticora pileata)


French: Hirondelle à tête noire German: Kappenschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina cabecinegra

Atticora pileata


, 1858,



Previously placed in Notiochelidon (see Atticora), but genetic data#R indicate that it belongs with A. fasciata and A. tibialis. Monotypic.


Highlands of S Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala and adjacent SW Honduras and NW El Salvador.

Descriptive notes

12–13 cm. Has forehead to hindneck black with blue gloss; upperparts grey-brown, darker on rump and uppertail-coverts; wings and tail brownish-black, tail moderately... read more


Song is a buzzing “bzeet”; also a nasal “sreet”, a buzzy “zrrieh... read more


Open woodland, woodland edge, clearings, cultivation, and human habitations, including towns. At... read more

Food and feeding

Diet unknown. Feeds alone or in small groups, often low over ground. Flight rapid, but with frequent periods of gliding. At one site,... read more


Feb–Apr in Mexico, Apr–Jul in Guatemala. Solitary or in small, loose groups. Nest built by both sexes, in one case taking 5... read more


Some post-breeding movements. Recorded in mountains of Honduras as non-breeding visitor, and in El... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in North Central American Highlands EBA. Locally common to fairly common.

Recommended citation

Turner, A. (2020). Black-capped Swallow (Atticora pileata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 February 2020).