Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

White-bibbed Swallow (Hirundo nigrita)


French: Hirondelle à bavette German: Medaillonschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina negrita
Other common names: White-throated Blue Swallow

Hirundo nigrita

G. R. Gray

, 1845,

no locality = River Niger, West Africa




Sierra Leone, SE Guinea, Liberia, and S parts of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria, E to SW Central African Republic and DRCongo (except NE & SE) and S to N Angola (S to Cuanza Norte, Malanje and Lunda Sul); possibly also extreme W Uganda (R Semliki).

Descriptive notes

12 cm; 15–22 g. Plumage is mostly glossy steel-blue with purple sheen, white patch on throat; wings black with purple gloss; tail almost square, black with blue gloss,... read more


Song is a weak twittering; calls include a “weetch”, a “vwhit vwhit” and a... read more


Rivers and streams in rainforest; also mangroves, harbours, land spits and lagoons.

Food and feeding

Diet includes dipterans, especially horseflies (Tabanidae), also beetles (Coleoptera), Odonata, termites (Isoptera), Hymenoptera. Forages... read more


Mainly in dry season, when river levels low: Mar in Sierra Leone, Oct–Mar in Liberia, Jan and Jun in Ghana, Jan–Feb and Aug in... read more


Resident; possibly some local movements. Apparently present in Sierra Leone only Dec–Jul.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common. Recorded density 1–2 nests/km of river. Recently recorded on Ugandan side of R Semliki, but not known if breeding there. Only... read more

Recommended citation

Turner, A. (2020). White-bibbed Swallow (Hirundo nigrita). 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).