818. Hirundo smithii.
The Wire-tailed Swallow.
Hirundo smithii, Leach, App. to Tuckey's Voy. Congo, p. 407 (1818); Sharpe, Cat. B. M. x, p. 150: Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 188. Hirundo filifera, Steph. Gen. Zool. xiii, p. 78 (1826); Blyth, Cat. p. 197; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 93; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 159; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 650; Hume, Cat. no. 84; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 79. Uromitrus filiferus (Steph.), Hume, N. & E. p. 75; Oates, B. B. i, p. 307.
Coloration. Forehead, crown, and nape chestnut; sides of the head and neck and the whole upper plumage with the wing-coverts glossy steel-blue; quills and tail dark brown, margined with steel-blue; all the tail-feathers except the two median pairs with a white spot on the inner web; the whole lower plumage white.
The nestling has the chestnut of the head replaced by brown, and the chin, throat, and breast are tinged with pale fulvous.
Bill, legs, and feet black; iris dark brown (Bingham).
Length to tip of ordinary feathers of the tail about 5; tail to end of ordinary feathers 1.8; outer tail-feather with lengthened shaft about 7 in male, somewhat less in female; wing 4.6 ; tarsus .45 ; bill from gape .55.
The Wire-tailed Swallow of India is quite identical with the Wire-tailed Swallow of Africa.
Distribution. The whole peninsula of India as far south as Mysore and the Nilgiris ; this Swallow is apparently absent from, or rare in, Bengal, Assam, and Upper Burma, but reappears in Pegu and Tenas¬serim. It ascends the Himalayas to a considerable height in the summer, and appears to be a constant resident in the plains. It extends to Africa and is found in various parts of that continent.
Habits, &c. Breeds from January to December, according to locality, constructing a small cup-shaped nest under bridges and culverts, and also under rocks in the immediate vicinity of water. The eggs, three or four in number, are white marked with various shades of brown and red, and measure about .72 by .53.