The Graceful Lesser Striped Swallow: A Master of the Skies

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Welcome to our blog post dedicated to the Lesser Striped Swallow (Cecropis abyssinica), a fascinating bird known for its graceful flight and distinctive markings. Join us as we explore the world of this aerial acrobat and uncover its unique characteristics and behaviors.

Field Identification

Lesser Striped Swallow

The Lesser Striped Swallow is a small bird with a streamlined body and long, pointed wings. It features a striking black and white plumage pattern, with a black head, back, and tail, and white underparts. Its tail is deeply forked, adding to its elegant appearance.

Systematics History

The Lesser Striped Swallow belongs to the family Hirundinidae, which includes swallows and martins. It is classified under the genus Cecropis, which comprises several species found in Africa and parts of Asia.


Lesser Striped Swallows are native to various regions of Africa. They can be found in sub-Saharan countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Ethiopia. They are primarily non-migratory birds and occupy their territories throughout the year.


These swallows prefer open habitats such as savannas, grasslands, and agricultural areas. They are also commonly seen near bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, and wetlands. They build their nests in protected areas, such as under bridges, in buildings, or on cliffs.

Movement and Flight

Lesser Striped Swallows are highly skilled aerialists, known for their agile flight maneuvers. They dart through the air with impressive speed and agility, gracefully capturing insects on the wing. Their long wings and forked tail enable them to perform intricate aerial displays.

Diet and Foraging

Their diet primarily consists of flying insects, including flies, beetles, and mosquitoes. They catch their prey while in flight, using their wide bills to snatch insects from the air. Swarms of insects often attract these swallows, providing abundant food sources.

Sounds and Vocalizations

Lesser Striped Swallows produce various vocalizations, including soft chirps and twittering sounds. They communicate with each other using these calls, especially during courtship and while defending their nests.

Breeding Behavior

During the breeding season, Lesser Striped Swallows form monogamous pairs. They build cup-shaped nests using mud pellets and line them with feathers and plant material. Both male and female birds participate in nest construction. Females lay a clutch of 3-5 eggs, which they incubate for about two weeks. Both parents share the responsibility of feeding and caring for the chicks.

Conservation Status

The Lesser Striped Swallow is currently classified as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. Although they are widespread and have stable populations, threats such as habitat loss and degradation due to agricultural practices and urbanization can impact their local populations. Conservation efforts focus on protecting their nesting sites and raising awareness about their ecological importance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Do Lesser Striped Swallows migrate?

A1: Lesser Striped Swallows are primarily non-migratory birds, meaning they do not undertake long-distance migrations. They usually stay in their preferred habitats throughout the year.

Q2: How can I attract Lesser Striped Swallows to my garden?

A2: Providing suitable nesting sites such as artificial nest boxes or open structures like eaves and ledges can attract Lesser Striped Swallows to your garden. Additionally, creating a diverse insect-friendly habitat with flowering plants can attract their prey and encourage their presence.

The Lesser Striped Swallow, with its graceful flight and distinctive black and white plumage, is a marvel of the African skies. Its ability to capture insects on the wing and its preference for open habitats make it a delightful species to observe. By understanding and appreciating these beautiful birds, we can contribute to their conservation and ensure their survival for future generations to enjoy.

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