Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Grey-rumped Swallow (Pseudhirundo griseopyga)


French: Hirondelle à croupion gris German: Graubürzelschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina culigrís

Hirundo griseopyga


, 1850,

Natal, South Africa


Has been placed in Hirundo because of its coloration, but DNA data indicate close relationship to other members of the “core martin group”. Proposed races liberiae (Liberia) and gertrudis (NE Nigeria and N Cameroon) undiagnosable. “Hirundo andrewi”, based on single specimen caught at L Naivasha, Kenya, in 1965, has been treated as a race of present species, but now generally thought to be aberrant, darker individual of nominate, probably on migration from unknown breeding area (possibly Ethiopia). Two subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. g. melbina (J. P. Verreaux & J. B. É. Verreaux, 1851) – Gambia E to SW Ivory Coast, Ghana, and coast from Equatorial Guinea S to extreme NW Angola (Cabinda).
  • P. g. griseopyga (Sundevall, 1850) – Mali, SE Burkina Faso, NW Benin, E Nigeria, N Cameroon, N Central African Republic, extreme S & NE South Sudan, extreme SE Sudan, Ethiopia, E Congo, and from W & E DRCongo, Uganda and W Kenya S to Angola, extreme N Namibia, N Botswana, NE South Africa (S to KwaZulu-Natal) and N & E Swaziland.
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 8–12 g. Crown and ear-coverts to hindneck are dark brown; back and wings glossy dark blue, rump and upper­tail-coverts grey-brown; tail strongly forked, dark... read more


    Not very vocal; song is a weak twittering; also a grating “chraa” in flight.


    Open areas such as floodplains, grassland, savanna or open woodland, often near water. In both... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes beetles (Coleoptera) and flies (Diptera). Forages mainly low over water, also over open ground and around tree canopies, at... read more


    Mainly in dry season, also sometimes breeding opportunistically to take advantage of good conditions: Nov–May in W Africa, Mar–... read more


    Not well understood. Forms large non-breeding flocks, usually up to c. 200 individuals, sometimes... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Scarce to uncommon in some areas, locally common or abundant in others. Generally scarce in W Africa, but locally not uncommon in Liberia; rare in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Turner, A. (2020). Grey-rumped Swallow (Pseudhirundo griseopyga). 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 18 February 2020).