White-backed Swallow

Cheramoeca leucosterna

The white-backed swallow (Cheramoeca leucosterna) is a member of the family Hirundinidae and is endemic to Australia. It is monotypic within the genus Cheramoeca. As with all swallows within the family Hirundinidae, it is characterised by adaptation to aerial feeding. The white-backed swallow can be identified by its white back, surrounded by black wings and tail. The white-backed swallow has a wide distribution, from the southern part of the Australian continent, up to the Tropic of Capricorn. The white-backed swallow prefers grasslands and will create a burrow nest. An adult white-backed swallow averages 15 cm long, similar in size to other swallows found within Australia. The adult has a mottled grey cap above white eyebrows and a grey eye. It has a dark stripe running from the lores and across the nape of the neck. The back and most of the breast is white. The belly, wings and tail are black. The white-backed swallow has a deeply forked tail, with curved and pointed wings. The short bill is black; the legs and feet are grey. They have a slender, streamlined body. Their eyes consist of a prominent, dark iris. The sexes have similar colouring but during adolescence the white-backed swallow has duller colours.
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