813. Hirundo rustica.
Hirundo rustica, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 343 (1766); Blyth, Cat. p. 197; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 157; Hume, N. & E. p. 72; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 649; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 587; Hume, Cat. no. 82; Oates, B. B. i, p. 302; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 79; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. x, p. 128; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 184. The Common Swallow, Jerd.; Ababil, Hind.; Talli-illedi kuravi, Tam.; Wanna kovela, Tel.; Paras pitta of the Mharis and Gonds; Tam padi, Tam.; Pyan-hlwa, Burm.; Waehaelaniya, Cing.
Coloration. Forehead, chin, and throat chestnut; lores black; upper plumage and wing-coverts glossy purplish blue ; quills and tail black suffused with glossy green, all the tail-feathers, except the middle pair, with a white patch on the inner web; sides of the head and neck and a very broad pectoral band glossy black, a few of the feathers of the latter part narrowly fringed with chestnut; lower plumage from the pectoral band downwards pale rufous, becoming rather darker on the under tail-coverts.
The young bird does not differ very much from the adult, but has the colour of its plumage very dull.
Bill black ; feet black; iris dark brown.
Length up to 8 ; tail up to 4.5 ; wing 5; tarsus .5; bill from gape .6; bifurcation of tail about 2.7.
Distribution. Every portion of the Empire, breeding throughout the whole range of the Himalayas and being found in the plains during the winter. Young birds of this species are to be met with in the plains at nearly all times of the summer in small numbers.
The Swallow has an enormous range, being found over the whole of Europe and Africa and over a great part of Asia.
Habits, &c. Breeds throughout the Himalayas in April and May from 4000 to 7000 feet, constructing its nest of mud, lined with feathers, in outbuildings, verandahs of houses, and sheds. The eggs, four or five in number, are white or pale pink speckled with red and purple, and measure about .76 by .53.