Wire-Tailed Shallow (Hirundo smithii)

The wire-tailed swallow is a small bird, measuring about 7 inches in length. It has bright blue upperparts, bright white under parts and a chestnut cap. The species is named for the very long outermost tail feathers, which trail behind like two wires. The sexes are similar in appearance, but the female has shorter “wires”.

Wire-tailed swallows are very fast flyers and difficult to photograph in flight due to their acrobatic movements. They generally feed on insects, mainly flies, while airborne. They can also be seen low over water, searching for insects over stagnant water bodies.

Their nests are made from mud, often seen clinging to cliffs and mud banks; and in man made structures such as walls near the roof too. They are seen solitary or in pairs, with many often getting together and sitting on wires or structures.

They are generally non migratory, though the north Indian swallows migrate to the south in winter. The species is widespread and found in Africa and Asia.

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