Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica)


French: Hirondelle rousseline German: Rötelschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina dáurica

Hirundo daurica


, 1769,

Mount Schlangen, near Zmeinogorsk, Altai, Russia


Taxonomy confused. Race striolata usually treated as a separate species (also including mayri, stanfordi and vernayi), but morphological differences between races japonica and mayri very slight, no difference in call detected in present review, and genetic evidence indicates closer relationship of striolata to domicella than domicella to rufula#R. Form badia treated in recent years as distinct species, but argument rests on its coloration and defiance of Bergmann’s rule#R; in reality there is an equally long-winged taxon to N (stanfordi) and a smaller one to S (nominate); moreover, range of badia curiously circumscribed by other taxa, although case still merits study. In contrast, C. hyperythra usually considered conspecific. Proposed races disjuncta (Birwa Plateau, in Sierra Leone) and gephyra (W Inner Mongolia S to E Tibet and Sichuan) probably indistinguishable from kumboensis and nominate, respectively. Fourteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. d. rufula (Temminck, 1835) – Western Red-rumped Swallow – SW & S Europe (Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean countries) and N Africa E to S Asia Minor, Levant (S to Israel), Arabian Peninsula, N Somalia#R, W & S Iran, Pakistan, NW India and Tien Shan; winters Africa and SW Asia.
  • C. d. nipalensis (Hodgson, 1837) – Himalayas E to SE Xizang (Tibet) and N Myanmar; winters India.
  • C. d. erythropygia (Sykes, 1832) – India from Punjab E to West Bengal, and S; winters S India and Sri Lanka.
  • C. d. daurica (Laxmann, 1769) – Asian Red-rumped Swallow – NE Kazakhstan E to SE Russia (W Amurland) and N Inner Mongolia, S to SC China (S to N Yunnan); winters S & SE Asia.
  • C. d. japonica (Temminck & Schlegel, 1845) – E Amurland, NE, E & S China, Korea and Japan; winters SE Asia S to N Australia.
  • C. d. mayri (B. P. Hall, 1953) – NE Bangladesh, NE India, N Myanmar and S China (SW Yunnan); winters N, E & S Myanmar, NW Thailand and Vietnam (E Tonkin, C Annam).
  • C. d. stanfordi (Mayr, 1941) – N, E & S Myanmar, NW & NE Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, C & S Annam and Cochinchina.
  • C. d. vernayi (Kinnear, 1924) – S Myanmar (N Tenasserim) and W Thailand.
  • C. d. striolata (Schlegel, 1844) – Striated Swallow – Taiwan, Philippines, Greater Sundas, and Lesser Sundas E to Wetar and Timor.
  • C. d. badia Cassin, 1853 – Rufous-bellied Swallow – Malay Peninsula.
  • C. d. domicella (Heuglin, 1869) – #RAfrica from Senegambia and Guinea E to SW Sudan, W & S South Sudan and SW Ethiopia.
  • C. d. melanocrissus Rüppell, 1845 – African Red-rumped Swallow – highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • C. d. kumboensis (Bannerman, 1923) – Sierra Leone (Birwa Plateau) and W Cameroon (Bamenda Highlands).
  • C. d. emini (Reichenow, 1892) – SE South Sudan, Uganda and C Kenya S to N Zambia and Malawi.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–17 cm; 19–29 g (rufula), 22·5–30 g (emini). Distinctive. Nominate race has glossy deep blue crown and back separated by... read more


    Short twittering song; calls include a contact call “djuit”, a mewing territorial call... read more


    Open hilly country and mountains, river gorges, valleys, sea cliffs, cultivation, and human... read more

    Food and feeding

    Adult diet includes flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera), termites (Isoptera), Orthoptera, Hymenoptera. In a study of 25... read more


    Season Apr–Sept in Europe, Feb to mid Aug in Arabia, mainly Apr–Aug in Himalayas, India and Sri Lanka, Jun–Jul in E Asia... read more


    Migratory in N parts of range, but mostly resident in S. Forms small post-breeding flocks of tens... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common in most of range; uncommon to locally common in W Africa; rather local in E Africa, where occurs in several protected areas in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Turner, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica). 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 27 February 2020).