Notice for readers: On March 31, Neotropical Birds will be integrated into the new Birds of the World, a powerful research database offering species accounts for every species on earth. Learn more at While Birds of the World is a subscription service, we remain committed to offering this content to Neotropical Birds contributors and to those unable to pay for it through our scholarship program. Stay tuned.

Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Hirundinidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Ashley A. Dayer


  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Blue-and-white Swallow
eBird range map for Blue-and-white Swallow

Generated from eBird observations (Year-Round, 1900-present)

Distribution in the Americas

The Blue-and-white Swallow is native to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.  It is a vagrant to Mexico and Nicaragua (BirdLife International 2009).

The northern subspecies cyanoleuca occurs in the foothills and highlands of Costa Rica, western Panama, upper tropical and lower temperate zones of Colombia, the subtropical zone of Venezuela, Trinidad, Guyana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, southern and eastern Brazil, and northwestern Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay (Turner and Rose 1989).  In Costa Rica, the Blue-and-white Swallow can be found at elevations of 500-3,100 meters (Garrigues and Dean 2007).   The subspecies peruviana occurs on the coast of Peru to 2,500 m (Turner and Rose 1989). The southern patagonica  is widespread to 4000 m and can be found to the lowlands east of Argentina (Turner and Rose 1989).

While the northern populations are resident, patagonica migrates to winter in northern Chile, northern Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, eastern Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, the Guianas, and Panama (Turner and Rose 1989), with records of vagrants as far north as Nicaragua and southern Mexico.  They arrive for wintering in Argentina and Uruguay in August-September and depart in January-March (Turner and Rose 1989).

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


The Blue-and-white Swallow utilizes open areas for foraging in rural and urban areas (Garrigues and Dean 2007).  It can be found in towns, agricultural areas with few trees, forest clearings, and upland water bodies (Stiles and Skutch 1989).  The race peruviana prefers open lowland habitat, in contrast to the preference of highlands in the northern part of the range of the species (Turner and Rose 1989).

Historical changes

No information.

Fossil history

No information.

Recommended Citation

Dayer, A. A. (2010). Blue-and-white Swallow (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.