The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Red-breasted Swallow

Afrikaans name: Rooiborsswael

Red-breasted Swallow

Above - Red-breasted Swallow collecting mud for its nest

Photo © Steven Herbert

Hirundo semirufa / Cecropis semirufa

The Red-breasted Swallow is a large swallow. It reaches a length of around 24 cm with a wingspan of 27 cm.

These birds are summer visitors to our area. During the months of July to March they may be found in South Africa. They prefer areas of grassland, bushveld and thornveld. Their main requirement being nesting sites such as large burrows, culverts or holes in banks.

They spend most of their time on the wing where they catch insects in flight for food.

Red-breasted Swallows are normally seen singly or in pairs. Towards the end of the breeding season they may be found in small flocks which are normally family groups.

As mentioned above they need access to suitable structures for nesting sites. These could be large burrows or termite mounds or man-made structures such as culverts. Holes in earth banks are also suitable. Both male and female work on the nest and it can take up to 3 weeks before it is ready for egg-laying. 3 eggs is the normal clutch. The female incubates the eggs although the male joins her in the nest at night. Both sexes feed the chicks.

References and further reading

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 265

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 343

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 354

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 459

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 453

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 282

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 296

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 73

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 208

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 55

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 228

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 228

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 411

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 172

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 52

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 142

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 206

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 85

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 187

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 114

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 85

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 203

BirdLife South Africa


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List of South African Birds

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