VU
Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - C2a(i)

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Vulnerable C2a(i)
2012 Vulnerable C2a(i)
2008 Vulnerable C2a(i)
2004 Vulnerable
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Near Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass 14 g
Distribution

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 1,290,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 146,000 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 1000-2499 medium estimated 2016
Population trend Decreasing good suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 20-29 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations 3 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 4 - - -

Population justification: The total population has declined by an estimated 36–56% since the 1850s, and has been estimated at 1,006 pairs or 2,012 individuals (Evans and Bouwman 2010), and between 1,169 and 1,338 pairs (Evans et al. 2016). Estimated numbers of breeding pairs should be treated with caution, as when nests are surveyed they are assumed to indicate one breeding pair each, which may not be the case in this facultative cooperative breeder, and it has been observed that some nests are not used after construction (J. Wakelin in litt. 2007). It is conservatively placed in the band 1,000-2,499 mature individuals given the uncertainty over estimated numbers, and the maximum number of pairs is only just above this range. This equates to 1,500-3,749 individuals in total, rounded here to 1,500-4,000 individuals.

Trend justification: There is evidence that it has declined as a breeding species throughout its range (S. W. Evans in litt. 2007), owing to the widespread conversion and degradation of its grassland and wetland habitats. The rate of population decline is thought to be under 30% over ten years (S. W. Evans in litt. 2007), or possibly as loss as 8% over ten years (Evans et al. 2015).


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the N Extant Yes
Eswatini N Extant Yes
Kenya N Extant Yes
Malawi N Extant Yes
Mozambique N Extant Yes
South Africa N Extant Yes
Tanzania N Extant Yes
Uganda N Extant Yes
Zambia N Extant Yes
Zimbabwe N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Upemba National Park
Kenya Ruma National Park
Kenya Busia grasslands
Malawi Misuku Hills Forest Reserves
Malawi Nyika National Park (Malawi)
Malawi South Viphya Forest Reserve
Malawi Ntchisi Mountain Forest Reserve
Malawi Mount Mulanje Forest Reserve
Mozambique Chimanimani Mountains (Mozambique)
Mozambique Gorongosa Mountain and National Park
Eswatini Malolotja Nature Reserve
Tanzania Livingstone Mountains forests
Tanzania Njombe forests
Tanzania Mount Rungwe
Tanzania Udzungwa Mountains
Tanzania Umalila Mountains
Tanzania Kitulo plateau
Tanzania Minziro Forest Reserve
Uganda Sango Bay area
Uganda Mabamba Bay
South Africa Wolkberg Forest Belt
South Africa Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Graskop Grasslands
South Africa Mac-Mac Escarpment and Forests
South Africa Kaapsehoop
South Africa Impendle Nature Reserve
South Africa KwaZulu-Natal Mistbelt Grasslands
Zambia Nyika National Park (Zambia)
Zimbabwe Nyanga mountains
Zimbabwe Nyanga lowlands/Honde valley
Zimbabwe Stapleford Forest
Zimbabwe Bvumba Highlands
Zimbabwe Chimanimani Mountains (Zimbabwe)
Uganda Kyambura Wildlife Reserve
Zambia Mutinondo Wilderness
Zambia Mafinga Mountains
Uganda Nabajjuzi Wetland
Tanzania Udzungwa Mountain Range
South Africa Misty Mountain Natural Heritage Site
South Africa Palaborwa
South Africa Orpen
South Africa Hazyview
South Africa Bushbuckridge
South Africa Southern Drakensberg foothills
South Africa Greater Itala complex (ZA)
South Africa Umzimkulu complex
South Africa Mistbelt grasslands
South Africa Midlands
South Africa Greater Greytown complex
South Africa Boston area
South Africa Lower Mooi River valley
Eswatini Big Bend - Manzini - Hlathikulu
Eswatini Nkomati valley
Eswatini Greater Itala complex (SZ)
Mozambique Choa Mountains
Mozambique Machipanda

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major non-breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude major breeding
Savanna Dry suitable breeding
Savanna Dry suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable non-breeding
Altitude 1000 - 3000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Wood & pulp plantations - Agro-industry plantations Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Other impacts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 3
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Energy production & mining Mining & quarrying Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 3
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Unspecified species Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use - Abstraction of surface water (unknown use) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Natural system modifications Fire & fire suppression - Trend Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Pollution Air-borne pollutants - Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Unknown Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Unknown
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success
Residential & commercial development Housing & urban areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Hirundo atrocaerulea. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/10/2021.