Barn swallow Hirundo rustica, photographed by Jiří Bohdal.

Belongs within: Hirundinidae.

The genus Hirundo includes the barn swallow H. rustica, welcome swallow H. neoxena, and related species. Authors have differed in the circumscription of this genus: at its broadest, it may include nearly all the hirundine swallows. Species of Hirundo as recognised here generally have blue upperparts, rufous throats and pale underparts, and build their nests from mud as open cups. A number of species that originally nested on rock faces have adapted to human development by using walls and beams of buildings as nesting sites. The barn swallow H. rustica is widespread in Eurasia, Africa and the Americas, breeding in northern parts of the range and overwintering in southern regions.

<==Hirundo Linnaeus 1758 CC10 [incl. Biblis Lesson 1837 B94; Biblidinae]
    |--H. dimidiata BKB15
    `--+--+--H. leucosoma BKB15
       |  `--+--H. cucullata JT12 [=Cecropis cucullata JF06]
       |     `--H. megaensis JT12
       `--+--+--H. atrocaerulea BKB15
          |  `--H. nigrorufa JT12
          `--+--+--H. neoxena Gould 1842 JT12, CC10
             |  |    |--H. n. neoxena [=H. tahitica neoxena] CC10
             |  |    |--H. n. carteri (Mathews 1912) [=Chelidon javanica carteri] L03
             |  |    `--H. n. parsonsi M03
             |  `--H. tahitica JT12
             |       |--H. t. tahitica L03
             |       |--H. t. ambiens Mayr 1934 L03
             |       `--H. t. javanica Sparrman 1789 [incl. H. t. viridissima Meise 1929] L03
             `--+--H. albigularis Strickland 1849 JT12, L03 [incl. H. albigularis microptera Hartert 1904 L03]
                `--+--H. smithii JT12
                   `--+--H. nigrita JT12
                      `--+--*H. rustica Linnaeus 1758 CC10, JT12, L03
                         |    |--H. r. rustica [incl. H. r. afghanica Koelz 1939] L03
                         |    |--H. r. erythrogaster FS55
                         |    `--H. r. gutturalis J06
                         `--+--H. angolensis JT12
                            `--+--H. aethiopica Blanford 1869 JT12, L03 (see below for synonymy)
                               `--H. lucida JT12
                                    |--H. l. lucida L03
                                    `--H. l. rothschildi Neumann 1904 L03

Hirundo incertae sedis:
  H. aprica Feduccia 1967 U93
  H. borbonica Sch66
  H. capensis Scl66
  H. domicola JT12
  H. fossilis Giebel 1847 M02
  H. frontalis N87
  H. fuliginosa JT12
  H. obsoleta JT12
  H. paludicola B93
  H. pelagica Linnaeus 1758 L58
  H. perdita JT12
  H. senegalensis JT12 [=Cecropis senegalensis L03]
    |--H. s. senegalensis L03
    `--H. s. monteiri Hartlaub 1862 [incl. H. s. hybrida van Someren 1921] L03
  H. subis Linnaeus 1758 L58

Hirundo aethiopica Blanford 1869 JT12, L03 [incl. H. aethiopica fulvipectus Amadon 1954 L03]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[B93] Brooke, R. K. 1993. Annotated catalogue of the Aves type specimens in the South African Museum. Annals of the South African Museum 102 (10): 327–349.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[FS55] Felten, H., & J. Steinbacher. 1955. Zur Vogelfauna von El Salvador. Senckenbergiana Biologica 36 (1–2): 9–19.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[J06] Johnstone, R. E. 2006. The birds of Gag Island, Western Papuan islands, Indonesia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 23 (2): 115–132.

[JF06] Jønsson, K. A., & J. Fjeldså. 2006. A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds. Zoologica Scripta 35: 149–186.

[L03] LeCroy, M. 2003. Type specimens of birds in the American Museum of Natural History. Part 5. Passeriformes: Alaudidae, Hirundinidae, Motacillidae, Campephagidae, Pycnonotidae, Irenidae, Laniidae, Vangidae, Bombycillidae, Dulidae, Cinclidae, Troglodytidae, and Mimidae. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 278: 1–156.

[L58] Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii: Holmiae.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[M03] Morcombe, M. 2003. Field Guide to Australian Birds 2nd ed. Steve Parish Publishing.

[N87] North, A. J. 1887. List of references to authentic descriptions of Australian birds' eggs. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (4): 1163–1174.

[Sch66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419–426.

[Scl66] Sclater, P. L. 1866. Report on birds collected at Windvogelberg, South Africa, by Capt. G. E. Bulger, C. M. Z. S. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 21–23.

[U93] Unwin, D. M. 1993. Aves. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 717–737. Chapman & Hall: London.

Last updated: 15 July 2019.

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