TACHYCINETA ALBIVENTRIS (Bodd.).
Hirondelle a ventre blanc de Cayenne, Daubent. Pl. Enl. vii. pl. 546. fig. 1.
White-winged Swallow, Lath. Gen. Syn. ii. pt. 2, p. 577 (1783).
Hirundo albiventer, Bodd. Tabl. Pl. Enl. p. 32 (1783, ex Daubent.) ; Gray, Gen. B. i. p. 58 (1845) ; id. Hand-l. B. i. p. 71, no. 813 (1869).
Hirundo leucoptera, Gm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 1022 (1788) ; Neuwied, Beitr. Naturg. Bras. iii. p. 362 (1830) ; D’Orb. & Lafr. Syn. Av. p. 69 (1837) ; Cab. in Sebomb. Reis. Guian. iii. p. 672 (1848) ; Tschudi & Cab. Faun. Peruan. p. 132 (1855). Herse leucoptera, Bp. Consp, i. p. 341 (1850).
Petrochelidon leucoptera, Cab. Mus. Hein. Th. i. p. 49 (1850).
Petrochelidon albiventer, Cass. Cat. Hirund. Mus. Philad. Aead. p. 5 (1853).
Cotyle leucoptera, Burm. Th. Bras. iii. p. 143 (1856).
Petrochelidon albiventris, Sclater, Cat. Amer. B. p. 41 (1862) ; id. & Salv. P. Z. S.
1866. p. 178 ; Pelz. Orn. Bras. pp. 17, 402 (1871) ; id. Ibis, 1873, p. 108.
Hirundo albiventris, Baird, Review Amer. B. p. 302 (1865) ; Scl. & Salv. P. Z. S. 1867, p. 569 ; Wyatt, Ibis, 1871, p. 323 ; Layard, Ibis, 1873, p. 378 ; Scl. & Salv. Nomencl. Av. Neotr, p. 14 (1878) ; iid. P. Z. S. 1873, p. 258 ; iid. P. Z. S. 1879, p. 595 ; Tacz. P. Z. S. 1882, p. 8 ; id. Orn. Perou, i. p. 239 (1884) ; Sharpe, Cat. Birds in Brit. Mus. x. pp. 113, 630 (1885).
? Hirundo leucorrhoa, Forbes, Ibis, 1881, pp. 315, 329.
T. uropygio albo : tectricibus alarum et secundariis albo late marginatis.
Hab. in America meridionali.
Adult male. General colour above glossy steel-blue, rather greener on the back, the hind neck and mantle mottled with white bases to the feathers ; wing-coverts like the back : inner greater coverts and secondaries blue-black, broadly and conspicuously edged with white on the miter webs and round the tip ; the bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and primaries black, glossed with dull steel-blue externally ; lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts white, with blackish shaft lines ; longer upper tail-coverts steel-blue ; tail-feathers blackish glossed with steel-blue, with white bases to the inner web ; lores and feathers below the eye velvety black ; ear-coverts and sides of neck glossy steel-blue like the head ; cheeks and entire' under surface of body pure white, including the thighs and under tail-coverts, under wing-coverts and axillaries ; quills dusky below: “legs greyish brown ; iris greyish brown” (Neuwied). Total length 1.8 inches, culmen 0.4, wing 4, tail 1.9, tarsus 0.45.
Adult female. Similar to the male in colour. Total length 4.8 inches, culmen 0.35, wing 4, tail 1.85, tarsus 0.4.
Obs. There does not seem to be much variation in plumage in this species beyond that the shade of colour on the back varies between green and blue, and the shaft-lines on the breast are more distinct in some than in others ; they apparently become obscured in winter, as is the case with other Swallows of this group. Sometimes the streaks on the rump and upper tail-coverts are very broad.
A young bird shot by Mr. Wyatt in the Magdalena Valley is smoky brown, glossed with dull green on the back and wing-coverts ; quills and tail brown ; the white edgings to the greater coverts are almost obsolete, but the white on the inner secondaries is strongly pronounced.
Hab. South America throughout Brazil and Amazonia to Colombia, Ecuador, and Guiana.
THIS very distinct species of Tachycineta has a wide distribution in South America. It inhabits the whole of Guiana, having been originally described from Cayenne, while specimens from Surinam are in the U.S. National Museum. Mr. Henry "Whitely has sent it from British Guiana, viz. from Bartica Grove (Sept.) and Camacusa (June).
We have not found any instance recorded of its occurrence in Venezuela, but Mr. Wyatt procured it in Colombia, where it was confined to the low country. He noticed it on the Magdalena Hiver and the Lake of Paturia. In Ecuador Buckley obtained specimens on the Copataza River.
Mr. Edward Bartlett met with this species in Eastern Peru, and it was found by him on the Upper and Lower Ucayali and at Santa Cruz. He found it breeding in July and August. Stolzmann met with it at Yurimaguas in February, and Mr. Haux-well has procured it at Pebas in the same month.
The White-winged Swallow also appears to inhabit Bolivia, as d’Orbigny procured it in the province of Moxos, and a Bolivian specimen is in the U.S. National Museum.
In Brazil Prince Maximilian states that he met with it both on the coast and in the interior. It was found plentifully to the southwards, on the Parahyba, on the Mucuri, and it was very common at Belmonte, Ilheos, &c. Natterer met with it at Pirahy in November, and in the Ypancma district in January, February, April, May, and November. Wucherer procured specimens near Bahia, and from Pernambuco Mr. Forbes writes :— “This Swallow I found very common in Recife, where it might be seen flying about in numbers in some of the streets, as well as over the rivers which separate the various parts of the town. I also observed it at Parahyba, but in the interior it seems to disappear.”
Mr. Wallace and Mr. Layard both met with it near Para.
Prince Maximilian of Neuwied has given the following note on the habits of the species as observed by him in Brazil :—“ It flies low over the surface of the water, resting on the branches and small twigs of the stumps, which are uprooted by the course of the stream, and which are stuck fast in the sand in every direction. The cry is a short chirrup. It is constantly occupied in the pursuit of insects, and is frequently seen in company with Hirundo ruficollis. I found the nest in an old tree-trunk, split by the water, and fast buried in the sand : it was placed at the end of the tree between the wood and the bark, and consisted of an exposed mass of dry grass and stalks mixed with feathers, amongst which were some of the red plumes of the Macaw (Ara macao) and the green feathers of a Surukua (Trogon). The depth of the nest is very small, and two white eggs were found in the beginning of October or the end of September.”
Mr. E. Bartlett found the species breeding in the Ucayali River. He writes:—
“Builds in holes of dead trees on the banks of rivers overhanging the water. The nest is composed of fibres of bark, dry grass, and feathers of different kinds of birds, such as the White Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, &c. Four white eggs are laid in July or August.” The eggs are said to be of about the same size as those of the Common Martin of Europe.
The descriptions are taken, from birds in the British Museum, and the figures in the Plate, which represent an old and a young bird, the former from a specimen in the Salvin-Godman collection, and the latter from a bird procured by Mr. Wyatt in the Magdalena Valley.
TACHYCINETA ALBIVENTRIS (Bodd.).