Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Pearl-breasted Swallow (Hirundo dimidiata)


French: Hirondelle à gorge perlée German: Perlbrustschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina perlada

Hirundo dimidiata


, 1850,

Leroma, Transvaal, South Africa


See H. leucosoma. Closely related to H. megaensis (which see). Races poorly differentiated. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. d. marwitzi Reichenow, 1903 – Angola, S DRCongo, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, NE South Africa and W Mozambique.
  • H. d. dimidiata Sundevall, 1850 – Namibia and Botswana S to the Cape. S populations migrate N.
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 10–15 g. Male is glossy blue above, wings blackish with slight blue gloss; tail slightly forked, blackish, usually without any white; grey-white below, grey wash... read more


    Song is a harsh “chip-cheree-chip-chip”; also a courtship call “kss-kss”, “twit” calls uttered in... read more


    Grassland, scrub, broadleaf woodland, miombo woodland edge and clearings, cultivation, and human... read more

    Food and feeding

    Details of diet not known. Forages alone, in pairs or in small groups, occasionally in flocks of up to 100. Feeds, probably on flies,... read more


    Aug–Oct in DRCongo, Aug–Sept in Zambia and Malawi, Sept in Mozambique, Oct–Jan in Namibia, Aug–Feb in Zimbabwe; Aug... read more


    Mainly resident with some post-breeding movement in N. Migratory S of c. 26° S; details not clear,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Usually scarce and sparsely distributed, but can be locally common. Occurs throughout the year in Botswana but breeding not recorded there. Since... read more

    Recommended citation

    Turner, A. (2020). Pearl-breasted Swallow (Hirundo dimidiata). 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 16 February 2020).