Hirundo senegalensis (Mosque
Moskeeswael [Afrikaans]; Sisampamema (generic term for
swallows, martins, swifts and spinetails) [Kwangali]; Nyengha (generic term for
swallow) [Tsonga]; Moskeezwaluw [Dutch]; Hirondelle des mosquées [French];
Senegalschwalbe [German]; Andorinha-das-mesquitas [Portuguese]
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Order: Passeriformes > Family: Hirundinidae
Distribution and habitat
Patchily distributed across sub-Saharan Africa, from
Senegal to Ethiopia south to southern Africa. Here it is scarce in the extreme
north of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, with a separate population east of
Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga, south-eastern Zimbabwe and southern and central
Mozambique. It generally prefers dense broad-leaved woodland, especially Mopane
(Colosphermum mopane) but also Miombo (Brachystegia), with
scattered baobabs (Adansonia digitata) and leadwoods (Combretum
Distribution of Mosque swallow in southern Africa,
based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas
Animal Demography unit, University of
Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range
from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).
See here for the latest distribution
from the SABAP2.
Movements and migrations
Mostly resident in southern Africa, but
partially migratory in northern Namibia and Botswana, where a lot of
the population leave during winter.
It eats flying insects, such as ants, termites and flies,
typically foraging 20-30 metres above ground. It also attends termite emergences
and fires, sometimes gathering in flocks of up to 100 birds.
- Monogamous, nesting either solitarily or in small groups.
- The nest is a gourd-shaped bowl built of mud pellets and lined with
grass and feathers, with a long entrance tunnel attached to the side. It is
often placed in tree cavities (especially in Baobab Ansonia digitata),
alternatively in or under tree branches, in buildings or road culverts.
- Egg-laying season is year-round, peaking from August-April.
- In Uganda it lays 2-4 pure white eggs.
Not threatened, in fact its range has expanded recently
into the Skukuza region of the Kruger National Park.
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts
- Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker
Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.
Harrison, J.A., Allan, D.G., Underhill, L.G., Herremans, M.,
Tree. A.J., Parker, V. & Brown, C.J. (eds). 1997. The atlas of southern
African birds. Vol. 2: Passerines. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.