Hirundo filifera, Steph.
84. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 159; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 451; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 377 ; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India ; Ibis, 1885, p. 59 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 102.
THE WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW.
Length, to end of middle tail-feathers, 4.75; outer tail-feathers, 5 inches longer; expanse, 12 ; wing, 4.12 to 4.7 ; tail, except the outer two feathers, 1.5; tarsus, 0.5; bill at gape, 0.5; bill at front, 0.25.
Bill black; irides very dark brown; legs and feet black.
Above, very glossy steel-blue ; top of head deep ferruginous; lores deep black; beneath pure white, with white spots on all, except the four central tail-feathers, the outermost prolonged in the form of a thin wire; the female differs in having the outer tail-feathers much less developed.
The Wire-tailed Swallow occurs throughout the district, but is nowhere numerically common; it is a permanent resident, and breeds from February to August, rearing at least two broods in the year; the nest is deep half, saucer-shaped, and is composed of pellets of mud, well lined with soft feathers, and is usually placed in the immediate vicinity of water; under the cornices of bridges, arches of culverts, sides of wells, where there are projections under which they can build, niches in buildings overhanging water, or under projecting ledges of rock, it is always placed against the side and a little below the roof or projection, just enough space being left for the ingress and egress of the bird.
The eggs, generally three in number, are long, narrow ovals, in shape a good deal pointed towards one end, are fine and delicate in texture, and fairly glossy when fresh, but as incubation proceeds this disappears.
Their color is white, beautifully speckled, spotted, and blotched with various shades of reddish-brown. When fresh and unblown, the ground color is a delicate pink, owing to the yolk showing through. They will not desert the nest, even if the eggs are taken. 1 have obtained as many as nine eggs from a single nest, but never more than three at any one time.
They vary a good deal in size, but average 0.72 in length by 0.52 in breadth.