Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Tahiti Swallow (Hirundo tahitica)


French: Hirondelle de Tahiti German: Tahitischwalbe Spanish: Golondrina de Tahití
Other common names: Pacific Swallow (when lumped with H. javanica)

Hirundo tahitica

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Hitherto treated as conspecific with H. javanica, but differs in its blackish vs mid-grey below (3); slightly darker rufous on throat and (only upper) breast, i.e. rufous reduced in extent (1); rufous of forecrown much reduced (1); and (comparing males of geographically closest form H. j. subfusca) bill and wing much shorter, bill appearing tiny (effect size −4.3, score 2) but tail much longer (effect size 3.23, score 2). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Society Is (Moorea, Tahiti).

Descriptive notes

13 cm. Adult has forehead rufous-chestnut, crown and upperparts glossy steel-blue; wings and tail brownish-black, tail slightly forked, pale margins on inner webs of... read more


Twittering song “twsit-twsit-twsit”; also a “titswee”.


Found in the vicinity of cliffs, including locally near the sea, near rivers in valleys, above or... read more

Food and feeding

Diet and foraging behaviour largely undescribed, but both presumably similar to H. javanica.


Eggs Nov and Dec on Tahiti. Solitary or in small loose groups, rarely more than 1–4 pairs; groups of up to 30 birds reported in the... read more


Apparently sedentary, although very short-range movements between inland valleys and coastal areas... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Rare on Moorea, even in the 1920s and numbers there were estimated at fewer than 40 pairs in 1972/73; there seems to be very few... read more

Recommended citation

Turner, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Tahiti Swallow (Hirundo tahitica). 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 24 February 2019).