Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Blue-and-white Swallow (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)


French: Hirondelle bleu et blanc German: Schwarzsteißschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina barranquera

Hirundo cyanoleuca


, 1817,



Previously placed in Notiochelidon (see Atticora, below) or, less commonly, Atticora, but such arrangements were paraphyletic#R. Races form two groups, based on plumage differences (especially amount of white on undertail-coverts). Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. cyanoleuca (Vieillot, 1817) – Blue-and-white Swallow – Costa Rica and Panama (highlands), Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, and from Ecuador, N & EC Peru and C & NE Brazil S to NW Argentina (Tucumán), Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • P. c. peruviana Chapman, 1922 – coastal Peru.
  • P. c. patagonica (d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1837) – Patagonian Swallow – from C Chile and C Argentina S to Tierra del Fuego; in non-breeding season N South America (S to N Chile and N Argentina) and S Central America (Panama).
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 9–15 g. Has crown and upperparts glossy steel-blue; wings and tail blackish, tail slightly forked; white below, grey wash on sides; undertail-coverts... read more


    Song is a series of weak buzzing and squeaking notes; also a contact call “tseet” and... read more


    Occurs in open and semi-open country, in forest clearings, and around cultivation and human... read more

    Food and feeding

    In Venezuela, adult diet 71% Hymenoptera (mainly flying ants, parasitic wasps), as well as flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera),... read more


    Mostly Jan–Jun/Jul in N, before main rainy season, with peaks in Feb–Apr, Jun-early Aug and Sept–Dec in SE Colombia;... read more


    Resident in N, migratory in S. Forms large post-breeding flocks of tens or hundreds. Race ... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and common; sometimes very abundant, especially in highlands and in S of range. A common hirundine in towns and cultivated areas. Readily... read more

    Recommended citation

    Turner, A. (2020). Blue-and-white Swallow (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca). 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 24 February 2020).