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Pacific Swallow - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 07:31, 3 November 2019 by Jmorlan (talk | contribs) (Added image showing H. t. frontalis)
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Adult subspecies H. t. frontalis
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Madang, Papua New Guinea, 14 September 2019
Hirundo tahitica


Adult subspecies H. t. javanica
Photo © by kayes
Penang, Malaysia, 29 April 2017

13-14cm (5-5½ in)

  • Blue back
  • Brown wings and tail
  • Red face and throat
  • Dusky underparts

Sexes similar. Juveniles are browner.

Similar Species

Similar to Barn Swallow and Welcome Swallow but is shorter and the tail is less forked. Especially compared to Barn Swallow, the lack of dark blue breast band and the presence of dusky flanks are useful (although east Asian Barn Swallow has less extensive breast band than some other subspecies).


From Burma to Japan and the Philippines, New Guinea and Tahiti.


Juvenile H. t. javanica
Photo © by Romy Ocon
UP-Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 8 April 2006

Hill Swallow is sometimes included in this species.


There are 7 subspecies[1]:

  • H. t. javanica (abbotti, mallopega):
  • H. t. namiyei:
  • H. t. frontalis:
  • H. t. albescens:
  • H. t. ambiens:
  • New Britain (Bismarck Archipelago)
  • H. t. subfusca:
  • H. t. tahitica:
  • Society Islands (Moorea and Tahiti)


Coastal cliffs, but is increasingly spreading to forested uplands.



Their diet consists mostly of insects, such as beetles, ants and termites but especially flies, which are caught in flight.


Their nests are constructed from mud and pellets combined with dry grasses on vertical surfaces with overhangs. The clutch contains 3 white eggs with brown spots.


Call: high pitched tweet in alarm; otherwise a cheerful twittering.


Mostly resident.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Birdforum discussion of id features including this species.
  3. del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). House Swallow (Hirundo javanica). 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/1343899 on 31 October 2019).
  4. Gregory, P. (2017) Birds of New Guinea, Including Bismarck Archipelago and Boughainville. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  5. Schodde, R. & Mason, I.J. (1999) The Directory of Australian Birds: Passerines. CSIRO Publishing
  6. Turner, A. & Rose, C. (1989) Swallows & Martins, An Identification Guide and Handbook. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Recommended Citation

External Links