Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Grey-breasted Martin (Progne chalybea)


French: Hirondelle chalybée German: Graubrustschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina pechigrís

Hirundo chalybea

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Cayenne, French Guiana


Genetic data#R suggest current arrangement in need of revision, as S populations are closer to P. elegans than to other races of present species. Hybrids recorded with P. sinaloae and P. elegans. Race warneri often merged with nominate. Race macrorhamphus formerly known as domestica, but this name preoccupied. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. warneri A. R. Phillips, 1986 – W Mexico (S from S Sinaloa).
  • P. c. chalybea (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – E Mexico (from S Tamaulipas) S through Central America to Trinidad and N South America (S to NW Peru and, E of Andes, to N Bolivia, N Argentina and C & NE Brazil); short-distance migrant in N.
  • P. c. macrorhamphus Brooke, 1974 – C Bolivia and E Brazil S to N Argentina (S to Mendoza, Córdoba and Buenos Aires) and Uruguay; S populations migrate to N South America.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–18 cm; 33–50 g. Male nominate race has forehead to crown and upperparts glossy steel-blue; wings and tail black, tail moderately forked; chin, throat, breast... read more


    Song is a gurgling; calls include a contact call “cheur”, a rattle heard between mates... read more


    Lowland woodland, savanna, forest clearings, coastal mangroves, farmland, also human habitations,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Adult diet in Venezuela c. 50% Hymenoptera (mainly winged ants), 10% each of Odonata, butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) and termites (... read more


    Mainly Feb–Aug in Mexico; Mar/Apr–Jun/Jul in Central America and N South America, Sept–Dec in S. Solitary or in loose... read more


    Forms large post-breeding flocks and roosts, sometimes thousands of birds, and sometimes with other... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to common and widespread in suitable habitat. Often abundant around villages and towns, as readily nests in artificial... read more

    Recommended citation

    Turner, A. (2020). Grey-breasted Martin (Progne chalybea). 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).