Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Hirundinidae
  • Polytypic: 4 subspecies
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Compact swallow with pointed, broad pointed wings, a small head, and a squared tail. In good light, adults have metallic, dark-blue backs and pale, cinnamon rumps. Their face is rusty with a white forehead.


Juveniles look like messy adults with rusty or brown faces and a dingy breast.


Compact swallow with a small head and squared tail. In flight note, pale rump patch and collar.


Juveniles in flight also show the pale rump patch with variable amounts of rusty coloring on the face.


Adults are dark blue above, but appear black in poor light. Key identification features include the pale rump and forehead and rusty cheeks.


Groups gather mud in their bills along streambanks, lakesides, or puddles to build their nests.


Builds mud nests in colonies on cliff ledges or under bridges, eaves, and culverts.

Recommended Citation

Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: