HIRUNDO LUCIDA, J. Verr.
Hirundo lucida, J. Verr. J. f. O. 1858, p. 42 ; Hartl. J. f. O. 1861, p. 103 ; Gray, Hand-1. B. i. p. 68, no. 792 (1869) ; Sharpe, P. Z. S. 1869, p. 567 ; id. P. Z. S. 1870, p. 308 ; id. Cat. Afr. B. p. 46 (1871) ; Bouvier, Cat. Ois. etc. coll. Marche, p. 9 (1875) ; De Rochebrune, Faun. Seneg., Ois. pl 218 (1884) ; Sharpe, Cat. Birds in Brit. Mus. s. p. 145 (1885).
H. tergo eaeruleo, uropygio dorso concolore ; fronte rufa ; gutture rufo ; torque pectorali chalybeo interrupto ; abdomine et subeaudalibus pure albis.
Hab. in prov. Gambensi Africae occidentalis.
Adult. Above most brilliant steel-blue, inclining to indigo ; wing-coverts dark blackish brown, glossed with steel-blue above, the innermost cubital feathers with a white spot on the inner web ; tail deep steel-blue, all the feathers except the two middle ones for the most part pure white on the inner web, so that the tips and the part immediately edging the graduated extremity of the feather are black ; a distinct though narrow frontlet and the entire throat deep brick-red ; a band across the breast, below the red throat, bright steel-blue, broad at the sides and narrow in the centre of the breast ; rest of the under surface of the body pure white, with a few dusky feathers on the flanks, and marked with narrow blue lines, more distinct in some specimens than in others ; bill and feet black. Total length 6 inches, culmen 0.35, wing tail tarsus 0.4.
The name of lucida is very appropriate for this Swallow, on account of the intense brilliancy of the steel-blue of the upper surface. The pure white breast and under tail- coverts, as well as its small size and the large amount of white on the tail, are also characters which easily distinguish it from Hirundo rustica and the rest of the true Chimney-Swallows.
It is a very rare species in collections, and nothing is known of its changes of plumage or of the coloration of the young. One bird in the British Museum, and formerly in Mr. Sharpe’s African collection, is not so brilliantly coloured, and has a smoky-brown shade on the sides of the body. This lias before been considered by us to be an immature bird, but it lacks the pale edgings to the secondary quills which generally accompany the plumage of a young Chimney-Swallow, and thus it may ultimately prove to be an adult female bird. Accompanying the smoky-brown under-parts there arc traces of narrow dusky shaft-lines on the under tail-coverts, which are absent in the full-plumaged specimens ; on the latter also can be distinguished some bluish streaks, which, if developed in all adult birds, would prove to be a strongly-marked character for the species.
As far as is known at present this elegant little Chimney-Swallow is confined to Senegambia, whence came the four specimens in the British Museum. Dr. de Roche-brune states that it is rare, the localities given by him being Gambia, Casamence, Melacorce, Sedhiou, and Bathurst ; the native name is stated to be “N’Jargaigne.”
The description is taken from the British-Museum 'Catalogue.’ The figure is drawn from a specimen in Capt. Shelley’s collection from Senegambia.
HIRUNDO LUCIDA, J. Verr.