Wire-tailed Swallow

Conservation status

Least Concern

Population Trend


Alternate Names


Native Habitat





Wire-tailed Swallow

Hirundo smithii

The Wire-tailed Swallow is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It breeds in Africa south of the Sahara and in tropical southern Asia from the Indian subcontinent east to southeast Asia. It is mainly resident, but populations in Pakistan and northern India migrate further south in winter.

This bird is found in open country near water and human habitation. Wire-tailed Swallows are fast flyers and they generally feed on insects, especially flies, while airborne. They are typically seen low over water, with which they are more closely associated than most swallows.

The neat half-bowl nests are lined with mud collected in the swallows' beaks. They are placed on vertical surfaces near water under cliff ledges or more commonly on man-made structures such as buildings and bridges.

The clutch is up to five eggs. These birds are solitary and territorial nesters, unlike many swallows, which tend to be colonial.

This striking species is a small swallow at 15 cm in length. It has bright blue upperparts, except for a chestnut crown and white spots on the tail. The underparts are white, with darker flight feathers. There is a blue mask through the eye.

Male and female are appearances, but the female has shorter wires. Juveniles have a brown crown, back and tail.

Regional Names
  • Bengali:
    তারলেজা আবাবিল
  • Gujarati:
    લેસર અબાબીલ
  • Kannada:
    ತಂತಿಬಾಲದ ಕವಲುತೋಕೆ
  • Malayalam:
    കമ്പിവാലൻ കത്രിക
  • Marathi:
    तारवाली पाकोळी, तारवाली भिंगरी, काडीवाली भिंगरी
  • Punjabi:
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Hirundo smithii