Wire-tailed Swallow

Hirundo smithii  in हिंदी
Scientific Name:  Hirundo smithii

Name:  Wire-tailed Swallow

    Local Names:
  • Bengali     তারলেজা আবাবিল
  • Gujarati     લેસર અબાબીલ
  • Kannada     ತಂತಿಬಾಲದ ಕವಲುತೋಕೆ
  • French     Hirondelle à longs brins
  • Malayalam     കമ്പിവാലൻ കത്രിക
  • Marathi     तारवाली पाकोळी, तारवाली भिंगरी, काडीवाली भिंगरी
  • Punjabi     ਤਾਰਪੂੰਝਾ
  • Nepali     सुइरोपुच्छ्रे गौंथली
  • Tamil     கம்பிவால் தகைவிலான்
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Glistening steel-blue above; chestnut cap; unmarked, pure white underbody distinctive; two long, wire-like projections (tail-wires) from outer tail feathers diagnostic. Solitary or small parties; almost always seen around water, either perched on overhead wires or hawking insects in graceful, acrobatic flight, swooping and banking; often flies very low, drinking from the surface; roosts in reed beds and other vegetation, often with warblers and wagtails.

Size in cm:

14-14 cm

Size in Inch

6-6 Inch

Primary color:


Secondary color:

blue   (Bird may have more colors)


Diet includes flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera), butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), mayflies (Ephemeroptera), etc.

Habit and habited:

open areas, cultivation, habitation, mostly in vicinity of canals, lakes, rivers. also wet paddy-fields in summer.


A twittering song; calls include a double chirrik-weet, a chit-chit contact call and a chichip-chichip alarm call.

Bird Type:

Perching Birds


The wire-tailed swallow (Hirundo smithii) is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It has two subspecies: H. s. smithii, which occurs throughout Africa, and H. s. filifera, which is found in southern and southeastern Asia. It is mainly resident, but populations in Pakistan and northern India migrate further south in winter. The genus name Hirundo is the Latin word for swallow. The species name smithii commemorates Christen Smith, a Norwegian botanist and geologist.

The wire-tailed swallow is a small swallow, measuring 18 cm (7.1 in) in length. It has bright blue upperparts, bright white underparts and a chestnut cap. Immature birds lack tail wires, and have dull brown (rather than chestnut) caps. The species is named for the very long filamentous outermost tail feathers, which trail behind like two wires. The sexes are similar in appearance, but the female has shorter "wires". Juveniles have a brown crown, back and tail. The Asian form, H. s. filifera, is larger and longer-tailed than the abundant African H. s. smithii.

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 three to four eggs in Africa, up to five in Asia (Turner and Rose). These birds are solitary and territorial nesters, unlike many swallows, which tend to be colonial. 

Distribution Map

  •     Resident (inc. local and altitudinal migrants)
  •     Former range (no recent records but may still survive)
  •     Summer visitor (including summer monsoon)
  •     Winter visitor
  •     Passage (autumn and/or spring) visitor
  •     known to be occasional, scarce or erratic
  •     Small isolated population (actual range smaller)  
  •     Isolated record(s) - one or more in the same area  
  •  colour coded for seasonality as per coloured ranges, black denotes unspecified season

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