Australian Bush Birds
Welcome Swallow  -  Hirundo neoxena
The Welcome Swallow is more often seen in flight than at rest.
Pair of Welcome Swallows showing the blue, orange and white colouring and the long tails. (Casino, NSW)
map map A streamlined body and long, tapering wings characterise the swallows including the Welcome Swallow - Hirundo neoxena. The head is glossy blue-black, forehead, face and throat are chestnut. The bill is short and black. Breast to rump is dull grey. The similar Barn Swallow has a black band between the chestnut face and grey underside, this band is not present in the Welcome Swallow. Back is blue-black merging into blackish-brown wings and tail. Deeply forked tail with two long tail streamers; tail feathers have white edge streaks to all except the central feathers. Reaches 15 centimetres in size.

Females are similar but have shorter and broader tail streamers. Juveniles have paler rufous facial areas and are browner all over than the adult with a short tail.

Welcome Swallow - page 2
Often seen perched in rows along overhead wires. Has adapted to use buildings, bridges and other man-made structures for its mud-nests. Pairs tend to return to the same nest year after year and the species is familiar on verandahs on farms, country homes and homesteads.

Engages in aerobatic flight, turning and wheeling to take flying insects with wide bristle-fringed bill. Dips low over pools or rivers, momentarily touching the water.

Occupies a wide range of habitats but avoids arid areas and heavy forest. Distributed through south-west Western Australia, southern South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales and south-east Queensland.

Common; usually sedentary but nomadic or migratory at times.

juvenile Welcome Swallow juvenile Welcome Swallow
Juvenile Welcome Swallows

Similar Species. The Barn Swallow is similar in colouring to the Welcome Swallow but with some consistent differences.