Family HIRUNDINIDAE

The intrinsic muscles of the syrinx fixed to the ends of the bronchial semi-rings; the edges of both mandibles perfectly smooth, with a single notch or the indication of one in the upper ; the hinder part of the tarsus longitudinally bilaminated, the laminae entire and smooth ; wing with nine primaries, the first and second nearly equal; bill flat, broad and triangular when viewed from above ; gape very wide ; the longest secondaries reaching to about the middle of the wing ; front of tarsus smooth; rectrices twelve: sexes alike; a moult in the spring only; young very similar to the adult; rictal bristles weak.

The Swallows form a well-defined group of birds remarkable for their great powers of flight, the whole of their food, which consists of small insects, being caught on the wing. Many of the Swallows migrate vast distances, others are resident, and some species are confined to small areas.

The Swallows resemble each other closely in structure, and the only point in which they vary is the shape of the tail. As the shape of the tail is, however, different in almost every species, it can not very well be utilized as a generic character. The Indian Swallows may be divided into four genera by characters which are of considerable value, such as the feathered or bare condition of the leg, the colour of the plumage and of the tail, the mode of nidification, and the colour of the eggs.

Key to the Genera.

a. Tarsus and toes feathered……………………CHELIDON, p. 268.
b. Tarsus and toes bare.
a1. Upper plumage brown and without gloss.
a2. Tail-feathers uniform……………………COTILE, p. 271.
b2. Tail-feathers with white spots……………………PTYONOPROGNE, p. 273.
b1. Upper plumage, or the greater portion of it, black and highly glossy……………………HIRUNDO, p. 276.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.2 1890.
Title in Book: 
Family HIRUNDINIDAE
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1890
Page No: 
267
M_ID: 
22359
M_SN: 
Hirundinidae
Volume: 
Vol. 2
Term name: 
id: 
1105

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