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16â€“17 cm (6Â¼-6Â¾ in)
Warm buff underparts that vary geographically from plain to quite strongly streaked (especially in northern China). Dark, glossy-blue upperparts, crown and back noticeably interrupted by chestnut nape and chestnut to orange-rufous rump. Upperwing and uppertail are blackish. Outer rectrices are elongated up to 3½ cm forming a deep fork. The blackish bill is short and flat with a wide gape. Eyes are dark brown. The short legs and the small, weak feet are blackish. Sexes are similar but the female has a shorter tail than the male. Juvenile is duller, browner above, paler below with less distinct streaking. Wing coverts tipped with buff.
Lacks the dark red face and breast band with sharp contrast to pale belly of Barn Swallow but instead has more black on the rear (vent is pale in Barn Swallow). Looks more thickset in flight which also gives impression of being slower. In area of overlap, Striated Swallow must also be considered. It differs in larger size, heavier streaking and lack of a clear collar. Rufous-bellied Swallow confined to the Malay Peninsula is similar but has redder underparts and lacks obvious streaking.
They forage alone, in pairs or in small groups. Flight consists of steady gliding and rapid wingbeats. They catch flying insects by aerial pursuit, sometimes up to 100 meters or more. They also pick up insects while perched in vegetation or even on the ground.
Monogamous. Breeds in pairs or in loose groups of less than 50 pairs sometimes clustered into colonies or dispersed. Male performs aerial display circling while calling around the female. Both adults build the nest. The flask-shaped mud nest has a tunnel entrance. Nest is lined with soft grass and feathers. It is placed on rocky ledges, buildings, under bridges and caves. Clutch size is 2-7 eggs with African birds average smaller clutches. Eggs hatch asynchronously. Older, stronger nestlings get more food and have an increased chance of survival.
Contact call is a House-sparrow-like chirp tchreet and a nasal tzueeee. Alarm call is a sharp kiir. Song is a twittering warble resembles that of Barn Swallow but with lower-pitched twittering, harsher, slower, shorter and more nasal.
Turner, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/57753 on 25 January 2019).