Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Ethiopian Swallow (Hirundo aethiopica)


French: Hirondelle d’Éthiopie German: Fahlkehlschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina etiópica

Hirundo aethiopica


, 1869,

Barakit, Tigray, north Ethiopia


Closest to H. lucida#R#R. Birds from W Africa E to Sudan sometimes separated as race fulvipectus on basis of more buffy throat and breast, but probably indistinguishable from nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. a. aethiopica Blanford, 1869 – Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and from E Mali, N Burkina Faso, S Niger and C Chad S to N Cameroon and N Central African Republic and E to C Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, W Ethiopia, N Uganda, N & SE Kenya and NE Tanzania. Rare in Senegambia and Guinea, and SW Cameroon#R.
  • H. a. amadoni C. M. N. White, 1956 – E Ethiopia, Somalia and NE Kenya.
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 10–17 g. Nominate race has forehead rufous-chestnut, crown and upperparts glossy steel-blue; wings black; tail blue-black, deeply forked, with small white... read more


    Song is a melodious twittering; calls are “cheep-cheep”, “chip” and “... read more


    Variety of open areas, including arid savanna and other grassland, open woodland, forest clearings... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes flies (Diptera), Hymenoptera (including bees and flying ants), termites (Isoptera) and cicadas (Cicadidae). Feeds in pairs or... read more


    Mar, Jul–Aug and Dec–Jan in Senegambia, Dec–Jan in Guinea, Apr–Jun in Ghana, Aug in Benin and Niger, Mar–Aug... read more


    Mainly resident, but migratory or partially migratory in some areas. Forms post-breeding flocks of... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally widespread, common and locally abundant; especially numerous in and around towns. Range has been expanding W in W Africa and S in E Africa... read more

    Recommended citation

    Turner, A. (2020). Ethiopian Swallow (Hirundo aethiopica). 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 22 February 2020).