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BirdsSpecies Animal

Cecropis daurica

Cecropis daurica

The red-rumped swallow (Cecropis daurica Laxmann, 1769) is a passerine bird belonging to the Hirundinidae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukarya domain,
Kingdom Animalia,
Phylum Chordata,
Subphylum Vertebrata,
Infraphylum Gnathostomata,
Superclass Tetrapoda,
Aves class,
Subclass Neornithes,
Superorder Neognathae,
Order Passeriformes,
Suborder Oscines,
Passerida infraorder,
Superfamily Sylvioidea,
Family Hirundinidae,
Genus Cecropis,
Species C. daurica,
The term is basonym:
Hirundo daurica Laxmann, 1769.
The terms are synonymous:
– Cecropis daurica (Linnaeus, 1771);
– Hirundo daurica Linnaeus, 1771.
The following subspecies are recognized within this species:
– Cecropis daurica daurica (Laxmann, 1769);
– Cecropis daurica japonica (Temminck & Schlegel, 1845);
– Cecropis daurica nipalensis (Hodgson, 1837);
– Cecropis daurica erythropygia (Sykes, 1832);
– Cecropis daurica rufula (Temminck, 1835);
– Cecropis daurica melanocrissus (Rüppell, 1845);
– Cecropis daurica kumboensis (Bannerman, 1923);
– Cecropis daurica emini (Reichenow, 1892).

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Cecropis daurica is a bird that nests in the open hilly areas of the temperate regions of southern Europe and Asia, from Portugal and Spain to Japan, India and tropical Africa.
The Iberian and Balkan Peninsulas host almost the entire breeding population in Europe, while tropical Africa and southern Asia usually host this species in winter, even if the populations concentrated in the southern parts of the Asian area are partly sedentary.
In Italy it regularly nests along the western side of the island of Elba and in the Gargano, in Sicily and on the major Tyrrhenian islands.
Indian and African birds are sedentary, but European and other Asian birds are migratory.
They winter in Africa or India and can even go to Christmas Island and northern Australia.
Its habitat is that of rocky ledges, bridges, cliffs and roofs of abandoned houses in hot and dry, open or rugged, coastal but also inland environments, which are the favorite places for this bird to nest.

Description –
Cecropis daurica is a bird with a length of 14-19 cm and a wingspan of 28-30 cm, with broad, pointed wings.
The adult male has the upper parts of an almost completely bluish black colour, with the exception of the rump which is less intense and lighter reddish towards the tail, and the nape and sides of the head which are of the same colour. The forehead is of a less intense reddish colour, slightly streaked with dark grey. All the lower parts, except the undertail which is blackish, are light cream tinged with reddish with fine and not very marked light brown streaks; even the throat has the same color.
The legs and beak are blackish in color.
The adult female differs from the adult males in having a slightly shorter tail.
The young are similar to the adult females but with the upper parts with light-edged plumage and the dull reddish parts much lighter and less alive.

Biology –
The Cecropis daurica nests in hemisphere-shaped nests, equipped with a tunnel to enter, built with mud collected with their beak, where they lay 3-6 eggs.
In Italy the nesting period runs from March to August, with a prevailing gregarious character of the species, which generally does not usually form nesting colonies.
They normally nest under the rocky overhangs of their mountain shelters, but also easily adapt to buildings such as mosques and bridges.
They do not normally form large breeding colonies, but outside the breeding season they are gregarious. On the plains of India many hundreds of these birds may be seen at one time.

Ecological Role –
Cecropis daurica feeds mainly on insects, which it captures while in flight.
This bird is extending its range northward into Europe, colonizing France and Romania in recent decades. The European population is estimated between 100,000 and 430,000 breeding pairs or between 300,000 and 1,290,000 individuals.
According to the IUCN it is not known whether it is seriously declining in range or numbers, so it is classified as Least Concern.

Guido Bissanti

– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– C.Battisti, D. Taffon, F. Giucca, 2008. Atlas of nesting birds, Gangemi Editore, Rome.
– L. Svensson, K.Mullarney, D. Zetterstrom, 1999. Guide to the Birds of Europe, North Africa and the Near East, Harper Collins Publisher, United Kingdom.

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2 thoughts on “Cecropis daurica

  • How does the migration pattern of the European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) between breeding grounds in the Iberian and Balkan Peninsulas and wintering areas in tropical Africa and southern Asia contribute to the species’ ecological success and survival?

    • ecosostenibile

      All migratory species need diversified habitats and different climatic conditions to complete their biological life.


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