Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Greater Striped Swallow (Cecropis cucullata)


French: Hirondelle à tête rousse German: Kaprötelschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina cabecirrufa

Hirundo cucullata


, 1783,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa




Angola, and from C Namibia, SE Botswana and E & C Zimbabwe S to South Africa; migrates N to N Angola, Zambia, S DRCongo and SW Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

18–20 cm; 19–35 g. Has forehead and crown dark rufous-chestnut, neck side and hindneck paler, back glossy deep blue, rump and shorter uppertail-coverts light... read more


Song starts with few “chrrp” notes and ends in descending trill; also a “chrrp... read more


Semi-arid karoo, open grassland, including montane grassland above 2000 m; often near water; also... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes flying ants (Hymenoptera); mulberries (Morus) and Acacia cyclops seeds occasionally taken, and latter... read more


Mainly Nov–Mar in Namibia, Nov–Apr in Botswana, Aug–Mar in Zimbabwe and Sept–May (peak Oct–Dec) in South... read more


Migratory. Forms small post-breeding flocks of up to 30 individuals. Migrates N in Mar–Apr,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Mostly common; scarcer in N & W of range. Readily uses wide variety of artificial nest-sites, which may have allowed its numbers to increase.

Recommended citation

Turner, A. (2020). Greater Striped Swallow (Cecropis cucullata). 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 25 February 2020).