Family Tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Least Concern

Swallow Flycatcher (Hirundinea bellicosa)


French: Moucherolle de Vieillot German: Orangebürzel-Schwalbentyrann Spanish: Birro belicoso

Tyrannus bellicosus


, 1819,



Hitherto treated as conspecific with H. ferruginea, but differs in its rufous vs blackish rump to tail (apart from blackish terminal band) (3); reduced or absent white mottling on vague supercilium, cheek, malar and chin (2); rufous fringes of wing-coverts, secondaries and tertials (2); shorter wing (effect size −2.09, score 2); decidedly lower-pitched (at least 2), richer song (lower frequency range; score 2), with longer start note and reaching faster pace#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. b. pallidior E. J. O. Hartert & Goodson, 1917 – NW Bolivia S to W Paraguay and NW Argentina (S to Mendoza and San Luis).
  • H. b. bellicosa (Vieillot, 1819) – E & S Brazil, E Bolivia (E Santa Cruz), E Paraguay, NE Argentina (Misiones) and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    15·5–18·5 cm; 21·2–42 g (once 14 g). Long, slender tyrannid reminiscent of a swallow (Hirundinidae), with short rictal bristles, long pointed bill broad at base, short legs;... read more


    Song (and calls) of this species are generally very similar to those of H. ferruginea, but... read more


    In Bolivia and NW Argentina found on sparsely wooded slopes with steep banks, cliffs and bridges at... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including hymenopterans and coleopterans recorded in stomach contents, and horse-flies (Diptera) reported through direct... read more


    Nests found in Nov and Dec in Argentina and S Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo), and nest with young in Pará, E Amazonian... read more


    Mainly resident. S breeders migrate during austral winter, sometimes far from typical habitat, for... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common, especially in SE Brazil. Probably increasing and spreading as a result of deforestation. Among many others, occurs in... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Swallow Flycatcher (Hirundinea bellicosa). 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 January 2020).