Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Red-throated Swallow (Petrochelidon rufigula)


French: Hirondelle à gorge fauve German: Rotkehlschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina gorjirroja
Other common names: Red-throated Cliff Swallow

Hirundo rufigula


, 1878,

Caconda, Angola


Has been considered conspecific with P. preussi, but differs notably in plumage. Sometimes considered conspecific with P. spilodera. Monotypic.


Gabon and S Congo S to C Angola, thence E to S DRCongo and NW Zambia.

Descriptive notes

12 cm; c. 16 g. Has crown and upperparts glossy deep blue, hindneck and mantle with faint white streaks, rump rufous; wings and tail blackish-brown, tail slightly forked,... read more


Twittering song; harsh “tre-tre-tre” uttered in flight.


Open grassland and cultivation, often near water and cliffs; locally also at bridges over large... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes flies (Diptera). Forages usually in flocks, often with other hirundines and swifts (Apodidae), up to 30 km from nest-site.... read more


Jul–Oct in Angola, Apr and Jun in DRCongo and Apr and Sept–Oct in Zambia. Colonies of tens or hundreds of pairs, up to c. 400,... read more


Mainly resident or partial migrant; migratory in SE, occurring in Zambia Apr to early Dec.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common. First colonized Gabon in late 1970s, continuing to expand N there; appears to be extending range also in Zambia. Expansion probably... read more

Recommended citation

Turner, A. (2020). Red-throated Swallow (Petrochelidon rufigula). 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 26 February 2020).