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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.



List of South African Birds

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