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A photo of a Striated Swallow (Cecropis striolata)
Striated Swallow

Striated Swallow

Cecropis striolata

The striated swallow, Cecropis striolata, is a captivating bird, measuring 19 cm in length, with a deeply forked tail that adds to its elegance. Its upperparts are a striking blue, save for a reddish collar that may sometimes be absent, and a streaked chestnut rump that catches the eye. The face and underparts are a pristine white, heavily marked with dark streaking, while the wings are a more subdued brown. Both sexes present a similar appearance, though the juveniles are somewhat duller and browner, with a paler rump and shorter outer tail feathers.

Identification Tips

To identify the striated swallow, look for its heavy dark streaking on the underparts and the distinctive reddish collar. The deeply forked tail is also a key characteristic. Juveniles can be recognized by their duller plumage and shorter tail feathers.

Habitat

This species favors open, often hilly landscapes, where clearings and cultivation provide the perfect backdrop for its existence.

Distribution

The striated swallow graces Southeast Asia with its presence, extending its range to northeastern India and Taiwan. It is a bird of varied geographies, thriving across these regions.

Behaviour

The striated swallow is known for its buoyant flight, which is slower compared to that of the barn swallow. It often feeds low over the ground or near cliff faces, and it is not uncommon to see it feeding alongside other swallow species.

Song & Calls

The striated swallow communicates with a simple 'pin' as a contact call, a 'chi-chi-chi' in alarm, and engages in a soft twittering that constitutes its song.

Breeding

Breeding season for the striated swallow spans from April to July. They may breed alone or semi-colonially, with nests scattered about. These nests are artful constructions, retort or bottle-shaped, crafted from mud pellets and lined with dried grasses and feathers. Clutches typically consist of four, sometimes five, white eggs. Both parents are involved in nest building, incubation, and care of the young. Nests are often found in natural caves, but it is not unusual to find them in man-made structures such as bridges, culverts, and buildings.

Similar Species

The striated swallow bears a resemblance to the red-rumped swallow of the race japonicus. However, it can be distinguished by its larger size, more pronounced streaking, and a less distinct neck collar.

Diet and Feeding

Insects in flight form the staple of the striated swallow's diet. Its feeding technique involves low, slow, and buoyant flights over the ground or near cliff faces to capture its prey.

Conservation status

The striated swallow is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that, for now, this species does not face immediate threats to its survival.

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