HIRUNDO SAVIGNII (Stephens).
Hirundo savignii, Steph. Gen. Zool. x. p. 90 (1817) ; Dubois, Ois. Eur. pl. 34 (c. 1862) ; Dresser, B. Eur. iii. p. 473, pl. 160, fig. 2 (1875) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 42 (1883) ; Tristram, Fauna & Flora of Palestine, p. 60 (1884) ; Sharpe, Cat. Birds in Brit. Mus. x. p. 133 (1885) ; E. C. Taylor, Ibis, 1886 p. 279.
Hirundo cahirica, Licht. Verz. Doubl. p. 58 (1823) ; Gray, Gen. B. i. p. 57 (1845) ; Bp. Consp, i. p. 328 (1850) ; Cass. Cat, Hirund. Mus. Phil. Aead, p. 2 (1852) ; Bp. Rivist. Contemp., Torino, 1857, p. 4 ; Blasius in Naum. Vog. Deutschl., Nachtrag, p. 307, Taf. 383, fig. 1 (1860) ; Antin. Cat. deserr. Ucc. p. 26 (1864) ; Alien, Ibis, 1864, p. 237 ; Blyth, Ibis, 1866, pp. 237, 330 ; Taylor, Ibis, 1867, p. 56 ; Tristram, Ibis, 1867, p. 361 ; Degl, et Gerbe, Orn. Eur. i. p. 589 (1867) ; Gray, Hand-l. B. i. p. 68, no. 789 (1869) ; Heugl. Orn. N.O.- Afr. i. p. 152 (1869) ; Fritsch, Vog. Eur. Taf. 23, fig. 1 (1870) ; Heugl. Orn. N.O.-Afr. iv. App. p. lvi (1873).
Hirundo riocouri, Audouin, Deser. de l’Egypte, p. 270, pl. 4, fig. 4 (1825) ; Cab. Mus. Hein. Th. i. p. 46 (1850) ; Cass. Cat, Hirund. Mus. Philad. Acad. p. 2 (1853) ; Sharpe & Dresser, P. Z. S. 1870, p. 247 ; Sharpe, t. c. p. 305 ; Wyatt, Ibis, 1870. p. 12 ; Shelley, B. Egypt, p. 121 (1872) ; Gurney, Ibis, 1875, p. 519.
Cecropis savignii, Boie, Isis, 1828, p. 316.
Hirundo casianca, Less. Traite d’Orn. p. 268 (1831).
Hirundo boissoneauti, Temm. ; Schl. & Susem. Vog. Eur. vi. Taf. 2, fig. 2 (1839) : Temm. Man. d’Orn. iv. p. 652 (1840) ; Linderm. Vog. Griechenl, p. 119 (1860). Hirundo rustica, var. orientalis, Schl. Rev. Crit. p. xviii (1844) ; Adams, Ibis. 1864, p. 14.
Cecropis riocouri, Rupp. Syst. Uebers, p. 22 (1845) ; Heugl. Syst. Uebers, p. 10 (1856).
Cecropis boissoneauti, A. E. Brehm, J. f. O. 1853, p. 452.
Cecropis cahirica, C. L. Brehm, Naum. 1855, p. 271.
Hirundo rustica orientalis, Temm. & Schl. Faun. Jap., Aves, p. 32 (1850) ; Leith Adams, Ibis, 1864, p. 14.
Hirundo rufa (nee Gm.), Swinh. Ibis, 1864, p. 414.
Hirundo boissoneauti latirostris, A. E. Brehm, Verz. Samml. C. L. Brehm, p. 3 (1866).
Hirundo boissoneauti microrhynchos, A. E. Brehm, t. e. p. 3 (1866).
Hirundo boissoneauti minor, A. E. Brehm, t. c. p. 3 (1860).
Hirundo rustica, var. cahirica, Doderl. Avif. Sicil. 1869, p. 144.
Hirundo rustica, var. savignii, Bree, B. Eur. iv. p. 85 (1875).
Chelidon savignii, Stejn. Pr. U.S. Nat. Mus. vi. p. 31 (1882).
H. similis H. rusticoe, sed fascia frontali et corpore subtus castaneis.
Hab. in terra AEgyptiaea.
Adult male. General colour above deep purplish blue, the hind neck and mantle slightly varied with the rufous-white bases to the feathers ; wing-coverts like the back ; quills black, glossed externally with dull greenish steel-blue ; tail-feathers black, also glossed with steel-blue, with a rufescent spot on the inner web, larger on the outer feather ; crown of the head like the back, with a frontal band of dark chestnut ; lores and feathers below the eye black ; ear-coverts blue-black ; entire under surface of body deep chestnut, the throat richer in colour and separated from the breast by a broad band of deep purplish blue across the fore neck ; under tail-coverts, under wing-coverts, and axillaries like the breast ; quills dusky below. Total length 6.4 inches, culmen 0.35, wing 4.5, tail 3.6, tarsus 0.4.
A specimen from Girgeh, killed in March, is of a more intense chestnut than any others we have seen ; the rufous bases to the dorsal feathers are very strongly pronounced, and form a very conspicuous feature.
THIS species closely resembles the Common Chimney-Swallow, but is easily distinguished by its deep chestnut forehead and underparts. The other chestnut-breasted Swallows of this group do not have a complete breast-band.
It is a resident in Egypt and Nubia, and although it has been recorded from many other countries of Europe, even from England, there can be little doubt that fine males of Hirundo rustica in spring plumage have been mistaken for the Egyptian form. The male of H. rustica, on its arrival in this country, is often beautifully tinged with rufous underneath, but never has such a deep chestnut under surface as H. savignii. Mr. Styan’s notice of the species in China (P. Z. S. 1886, p. 268) refers of course to H. tytleri.
Captain Shelley writes :—
“This species is resident in Egypt and very abundant. It differs from the last species (H. rustica) in not being migratory, and it keeps more exclusively to the neigh¬bourhood of houses, usually selecting the inside of some native mud-hut for its nest, which it begins to construct in February.”
Mr. E. C. Taylor states that he found the present species resident in Egypt through¬out the winter ; and von Heuglin found it breeding in that country between January and April, but records that it does not occur further south than 25o N. lat. The nests are met with in towns and villages, placed under rafters, in the corners of windows, and elsewhere in inhabited buildings, as well as in tombs, wells, and mosques. He did not notice the species in Arabia, but Mr. Wyatt saw it once in the Sinaitic Peninsula, at Wady Ureit, on the 24th of March. It was no doubt an accidental visitor from Egypt, and as Mr. Wyatt was well acquainted with the species in the latter country, there can he no doubt as to the identification.
Canon Tristram states that Hirundo savignii is a constant resident in the Holy Land ; but it should be remarked that we have examined several specimens obtained during Canon Tristram’s expeditions to Palestine, and they were certainly not true H. savignii, but a very dark form of H. rustica. For this reason we believe that the former bird is strictly confined to Egypt.
The description is taken from specimens in the British Museum, and the Plate is drawn from a bird shot by Mr. Wyatt near Cairo.
HIRUNDO SAVIGNII (Stephens).