Blue and white Swallow (Notiochelidon cyanoleuca)

Blue-and-white Swallow

[order] Passeriformes | [family] Hirundinidae | [latin] Notiochelidon cyanoleuca | [UK] Blue-and-white Swallow | [FR] Hirondelle bleu et blanc | [DE] Schwarzsteissschwalbe | [ES] Golondrina Barranquera | [IT] Rondine bianca e blu | [NL] Blauwwitte Zwaluw


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Notiochelidon cyanoleuca SA widespread, also Panama
Notiochelidon cyanoleuca cyanoleuca
Notiochelidon cyanoleuca patagonica
Notiochelidon cyanoleuca peruviana

Physical charateristics

This Swallow has the upper plumage is dark, violaceous steel-blue; the under parts are pure white except for the blue-black under tail-coverts, the grayish-brown sides and flanks, and a few dusky spots in the center of the chest, which are lacking on some individuals. The tail is short and slightly forked. The bill is black, the eyes brown, and the feet dark. The sexes are alike in appearance.

Listen to the sound of Blue-and-white Swallow

[audio: Swallow.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 13 cm
incubation min.: 14 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 26 days fledging max.: 27 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


It breeds from Nicaragua south throughout South America, except in the deserts and the Amazon Basin. The southern race is migratory, wintering as far north as Trinidad, where it is a regular visitor.


This is a swallow of open areas including villages and towns, farms, and forest clearings. In Central America it is a highland bird, but elsewhere in its range it can occur from the lowlands to an altitude of 4000 m.


It nests in separate pairs or in groups in the eaves of buildings, in cliff crevices and in highway cuttings. The Blue-and-white Swallow?s shallow straw nest is built by both adults in a wide range of natural or man-made cavities include tree holes, rock crevices and bridges. The clutch is up to six white eggs in the south of the range, two or three in the north, which are incubated by both parents for 15 days to hatching. The nestlings are fed by both parents for 26 days to fledging, bur return to the nest to sleep with the parents for up to two months. There may be two broods

Feeding habits

This species is often found in small flocks when not breeding. The Blue-and-white Swallow subsists primarily on a diet of insects, caught in the air. The flight is typically fluttery, and this swallow frequently perches on wires or branches.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as ‘common’ in at least parts of its range (Stotz et al. 1996). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Blue-and-white Swallow status Least Concern


Widespread virtually throughout South America, though there seem to be no records from across much of cen. And e. Amazonia ( it should occur here as a migrant, however), and occurring in tropical lowlands mainly or only as an austral migrant; population of patagonica breeding in s. Argentina and s. Chile present there only during austral summer ( mostly Oct. – Apr.); Trinidad. Also Costa Rica and Panama, with patagonica wintering regularly north to Panama and casually to Mexico. The northern populations are resident, but patagonica has been recorded on migration or in winter to northern Chile, northern Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, eastern Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, the Guianas and Panama; exceptionally, it occurs further north, with records in Nicaragua and Chiapas, Mexico. In Chile, patagonica is present all year in the north but only from late August to March in central and southern parts of the country. On migration these swallows keep to the more elevated country. They arrive in Argentina and Uruguay in August-September and leave in January-March, then north across Bolivia and Peru, Ecuador, eastern Colombia and northern Venezuela as far as Panama.

Distribution map

Blue-and-white Swallow range map


Author(s): ALEXANDER F. SKUT(•tt
Abstract: This Swallow has the upper plumage is dark, violac..[more]..
Source: The Auk 59(2)392-406

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