Blue saw-wing

Blue saw-wing
Psalidoprocne pristoptera

Photo by Per Holmen (Per’s Birding Pages)

Common name:
blue saw-wing (en); andorinha-preta (pt); hirondelle hérissée (fr); golondrina negra (es); erz-schwalbe (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Hirundinidae

This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Nigeria to Ethiopia and south to Angola, Zambia, northern Zimbabwe, Mozambique and eastern South Africa.

These birds are 12-15 cm long and weigh 10-13 g.

The blue saw-wing is found over a wide range of habitats, including various scrublands, grasslands, moist tropical forests, along rivers and streams, second growths, plantations, rural gardens and within urban areas. They are present at altitudes of 300-2.400 m.

They forage on the wing, taking various aerial arthropods.

The blue saw-wing is monogamous, nesting in solitary pairs or in loose colonies. The nest in a long burrow excavated by both sexes into a riverbank, sandbank, erosion gulley, roof of aardvark Orycteropus afer burrow, trench or road cutting, with the entrance often concealed by vegetation. At the end of the burrow they build a cup made of lichens and grass. The female lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated by the female for 14-19 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 24-27 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as generally common to locally abundant, although not common in the lower Congo Basin, west Sudan, south Zambia and central Zimbabwe. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

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