Huge surprise! The Red-Rumped Swallow ringed in Urdaibai for the first time!

Thursday, 17 August 2023 09:54

WPN Daurica

It's dusk and the air is full of swallows preparing to roost in the reedbeds. This is a tense moment for the bird ringing team waiting on the shoreline. Ahead of them is an important task. Ringing these birds will provide vital information about the health of the individual birds and the makeup of the general population. Carried out over time, the data gathered will provide information on changes which may occur in the population.

On the 15th August , 2023, the ringing team was in for a surprise. In the mist nets there were indeed a number of barn swallows, but amongst them was one which was rather different. The whole team was amazed. There before them was a red-rumped swallow - a species which had never  been ringed in Urdaibai before.

WPN2 Daurica

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)                                   Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica)

This bird, like the barn swallow, is an insectivore. Its chest is whitish and lacks the red throat of the barn swallow. In young birds the nape is a pale reddish brown. This is darker in adults. As can be seen from the photo, the individual ringed in Urdaibai was a juvenile.


The red- rumped swallow breeds most uniformly in the south east of the peninsula, for example in Andalucia, Extremadura, Salamanca, Madrid or Zamora. However, it is in clear expansion and data shows that it is now also breeding much further north in areas such as Galicia, Cantabria or Asturias.

By ringing the red-rumped swallow in Urdaibai the team was able to add an important piece of data to the study of this species. This was extremely satisfying for all of us.

WPN3 Daurica


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