Psalidoprocne orientalis (Eastern
Tropiese saagvlerkswael [Afrikaans]; Hirondelle de
Reichenow [French]; Reichenows sägeflügelschwalbe [German];
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Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves
Order: Passeriformes > Family: Hirundinidae
Distribution and habitat
Occurs across Malawi and northern Mozambique, with an
isolated population in Zimbabwe and south-central Mozambique. It is by the far
the most common in Zimbabwe's eastern highlands, much more scarce further
north and in central Mozambique. It is also a vagrant to the Caprivi Strip and north-eastern
KwaZulu-Natal. It generally prefers the fringes of forest or woodland, typically
close to open water but also occupying open hillsides, vleis and miombo (Brachystegia)
Distribution of Eastern saw-wing 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).
Movements and migrations
Altitudinal migrant in Zimbabwe with most other
populations resident, although it is scarce in winter.
It eats a variety of aerial insects, usually hawking prey
close to the ground. Most foraging is done at dawn or dusk, sometimes around
noon if the sky is overcast.
- Monogamous, solitary nester, although nests can be as close as 10-20
- The nest is slightly inclined burrow, consisting of a 40-80 cm long
tunnel ending in a chamber, where a saucer-shaped structure of lichens and
dry grass is built. It is usually dug into a roadside cutting, stream bank
or any other exposed area.
- Egg-laying season is from September-April, peaking from
- It usually lays 2 eggs, which are probably incubated for approximately
Status uncertain, but it is probably not threatened,
although the deforestation is cause for concern.
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.