Hirundo atrocaerulea

Hirundo atrocoerulea, Sundev. OEfv. K. Vet. Akad. Forh. Stockh. 1850, p. 107 ; Gurney, Ibis, 1863, p. 152 ; Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 55 (1867) ; Gurney, Ibis. 1868, p. 152 ; Gray, Hand-l. B. i. p. 70, no. 822 (1869) ; Sharpe, P. Z. S. 1870. p. 312 ; id. Cat. Afr. B. p. 46 (1871) ; id. ed. Layard’s B. S. Afr. p. 367, pl. 9. fig. 1 (1883) ; id. Cat. Birds in Brit. Mus. x. p. 149 (1885).
H. uropygio dorsoque concoloribus caeruleo-nigris ; capite dorso concolori ; corpore subtus omuine eaerulco-nigro, dorso concolori.
Hab. in Africa meridionali-orientali.
Adult. Entirely glossy blue-black, a little more dusky underneath ; the shafts of the primaries and tail- feathers white and very plain on the underside ; bill black; feet dark brown. Total length 7.2 inches ; of bill from front 0.3, from gape 0.5 ; wing 4.5, tail 4.6, tarsus 0.35, middle toe 0.4 hind toe 0.2.
Hab. The Colony of Natal in South-eastern Africa.
This Swallow is very easily recognized from all the other species of the genus Hirunda by its uniform blue-black coloration both above and below. It is an exceedingly rare bird in collections, and we have seen but two specimens, both of which are in the British Museum. One is from the Umvuli Paver in Natal, where it was collected by the late Professor Wahlberg, who was the original discoverer of the species ; and a second speci¬men was obtained by Mr. Thomas Ayres, also in Natal, and was presented to the Museum by Mr. J. H. Gurney. It is apparently confined to Natal, as up to the present time no example has been procured outside the limits of that colony.
Mr. T. Ayres states that it is the most uncommon species of all the Swallows in Natal, where it frequents the open country, being, apparently, solitary in its habits. They skim with case and rapidity over the long grassy hills, and he never saw them taking a rest, but flying on and on, apparently without ceasing, He believes them to he found in Natal all the year round, as he has seen them in March, April, August. November, and December.
It will be noticed that the outside tail-feather in this species is very long, and shows an approach to that of the Wire-tailed Swallow (H. smithii).
The description is taken from the Umvuli River skin in the British Museum, and the Plate is drawn from the same bird.

A Monograph Of The Hirundinidae Or Family Of Swallows.
Sharpe, Richard Bowdler, and Claude Wilmott Wyatt. A Monograph of the Hirundinidae: Or Family of Swallows. Vol. 1. 1894.
Title in Book: 
Hirundo atrocaerulea
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Richard Bowdler
Page No: 
Common name: 
Blue Swallow
Blue Swallow
Hirundo atrocaerulea
Vol. 1

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith