Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Chilean Swallow (Tachycineta meyeni)


French: Hirondelle du Chili German: Chileschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina chilena

Petrochelidon Meyeni


, 1851,

#R, Santiago, Chile


Formerly considered conspecific with T. leucorrhoa (which see). Initially described as Hirundo leucopyga Meyen, 1834, but this name is preoccupied by Hirundo leucopyga Pallas, 1811#R; nomenclatural validity of Pallas’s name has been disputed#R with claims that it is infrasubspecific and merely a descriptive term in the Latin text, but Pallas’s regular use of italics for his taxon names, together with the term “Varietas” which he applied to many of his names that are well entrenched as valid in ornithological literature (e.g. Columba rupestris), indicate that his H. leucopyga is best treated as a valid name, at the same time avoiding risky implications for several other well-established names; in any case, under ICZN Code, Article 45.6.4 (and, the name is valid due to its introduction prior to 1961 with the term “Varietas” and no express indication that it is intended as infrasubspecific, and also because before 1985 it was treated as a senior homonym. With validity of Pallas’s name, Meyen’s name becomes preoccupied and is replaced by next oldest name, meyeni. Monotypic.


From C Chile (S from Atacama) and SW Argentina (S from Neuquén and W Río Negro) S to Tierra del Fuego; migrates N as far as C Bolivia, Paraguay and SE Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul).

Descriptive notes

12 cm; 15–20 g. Has forehead and face to upperparts deep blue, white rump; wings black, white tips of tertials and inner secondaries (abrade with age); tail black,... read more


Song is a gurgling, ending with lower-pitched guttural phrases.


Open and semi-open country near water, such as marshes, lakes, rivers, lagoons, coastal areas, also... read more

Food and feeding

Diet known to include flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera), Hymenoptera (flying ants) and heteropteran bugs. Also recorded ingesting... read more


Sept–Feb in Chile, where sometimes 2–3 broods; Oct–Feb in Tierra del Fuego. Solitary, or in loose groups if suitable nest... read more


Resident in N. Migratory in S, moving N & E to spend non-breeding season mainly in Bolivia and... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Considered to be generally common or fairly common; the most abundant hirundine in Chile. Probably benefits from its frequent use of buildings as... read more

Recommended citation

Turner, A. (2019). Chilean Swallow (Tachycineta meyeni). 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 9 December 2019).