Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Cliff Flycatcher (Hirundinea ferruginea)


French: Moucherolle hirondelle German: Schwalbentyrann Spanish: Birro roquero

[Todus] ferruginea

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,



Hitherto treated as conspecific with H. bellicosa (which see). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. f. sclateri Reinhardt, 1870 – Santa Marta in N Colombia#R, Sierra de Perijá, Andes of W Venezuela and S on E slope of E Andes from Colombia to SE Peru (S to Cuzco), as well as W slope of E Andes and very locally on E slope of C Andes in C Colombia#R.
  • H. f. ferruginea (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – disjunctly in E Colombia (Guainía, Guaviaré, Vaupés), NW Brazil (NW Amazonas, Roraima), S & SE Venezuela (Amazonas, S Bolívar), SW Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
  • Descriptive notes

    15·5–18·5 cm; 28·8–40 g. Long, slender tyrannid reminiscent of a swallow (Hirundinidae), with short rictal bristles, long pointed bill broad... read more


    Some calls resemble those of American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) and Bat Falcon (F.... read more


    Cerros, cliffs, rocky outcrops, canyon walls, landslides and steep banks bordered by mature and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects. Often forages in pairs or family groups. Unique in family, captures prey by hawking in spectacular, powerful, long aerial sallies... read more


    Almost nothing known, but in S Venezuela mentioned to build grass or moss cup-shaped nest in crevice or ledge on cliff or roadcut,... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common but local, especially so in Venezuela. However, is probably increasing and spreading into artificially created habitats... read more

    Recommended citation

    Farnsworth, A., Lebbin, D. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Cliff Flycatcher (Hirundinea ferruginea). 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 7 December 2019).