Avian Demography Unit
Department of Statistical Sciences
University of Cape Town
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SAFRING results

European Swallow Hirundo rustica

Ringing data entered by ringers

H.D. Oschadleus

European Swallow, adult (L) and juvenile (R), from Jacobsdal (WC)

1. Numbers ringed with SAFRING rings, 1948-2002

  • Total ringed: 219177
  • First ringed: 1948/49 ringing year
  • Trapping method: Mistnets, Rehabilitatees

Number of European Swallow ringed per year with SAFRING rings

2. Computerised records, 1956-2002

Note: electronic records sent by ringers were extracted; no attempt was made to computerise other records.

  • Number of records: 26285
  • Ring sizes used: 16 with 1.8mm , 13862 with 2.3mm, 13 with 2.5mm, 7 with 2.5-4mm, 12642 with Old Prefix rings
  • Recommended ring size: 2.3 mm Aluminium Alloy
  • Top ringers: 128 ringers; top 5 ringers: Mr B Van Den Brink (4473), Mr RJ Nuttall (3977), Dr GPJ Grobler (3513), Mr F Conradie (2720), Dr H Bernitz & Dr Z Bernitz (2603)
  • Bird age distribution: Unknown (1967), Juvenile (168), Immature (4804), Adult (9798), 0-6 months (243), 6-12 months (8967), 1-2 years (336), 2-3 years (1)
  • Bird sex distribution: Unknown (2354), Male (210), Female (191), Possibly male (10), Possibly female (21)
  • Markings: Metal only (26285)
  • Condition: Good (26155), Rehabilitated (61), Released away from capture locality (70)
  • Birds ringed per region:
    Free State, South Africa11703
    Gauteng, South Africa4220
    Mpumulanga, South Africa3187
    KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa907
    Eastern Cape, South Africa277
    Western Cape, South Africa265
    Northern Cape, South Africa45
    Limpopo Province, South Africa42
    Northwest Province, South Africa40

Map of localities where European Swallow have been ringed, 1956-2002 (Electronic data)

3. Biometrics and moult for European Swallow

Mass data (g)
Adult male4541120.3726.5
Adult female3711420.3130.5

Wing length (mm)
Adult male205104123.1134
Adult female137110121.0132

Moult data

Primary moult November to March.

4. Recovery history (SAFRING's database)

  • Number of recoveries: 605 recoveries and 513 recaptures ; Foreign 304 recoveries and 279 recaptures
  • Greatest distance: 11660 km (60195588)
  • Greatest elapsed time: 8y 8m 14d (AC13046)
  • Causes of mortality of ringed birds: (major causes)
    • Victim of weather: exhausted (20)
    • Shot (16)
    • Collision: with motor vehicle (or found next to road) (16)
    • Sick or injured (11)
    • Killed or attacked by domestic cat (10)
    • Died due to sickness or injury (7)
    • Trapped accidentally by human artifact (5)
    • Collision with a window (5)
    • Rest unknown causes

Fastest: A72250 migrated from Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, to Whitley Bay, Britain, in 27 days.

5. Ringing references

Dixon K. 2003. Chirps from the past. Bird Numbers 12(1):53.

(Bird migration before the advent of ringing)

Martin P. 1997. The perils of swallow ringing. Safring News 26:40.

Mendelsohn HP. 1973. Races of the European Swallow - Hirundo rustica. Safring News 2/2:21-22.

Nuttall R. 2000. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica ringing in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Safring News 29:20-24.

Oatley TB. 2000. Migrant European Swallows Hirundo rustica in Southern Africa: a southern perspective. Ostrich 71:205-209.

Piper SE. 1974. Moult of the European Swallow. Safring News 3/3:24-32.

Scott W. 1996. Ageing and sexing of the European Swallow Hirundo rustica. Safring News 25:30.

Scott W. 1996. European Swallow Research: joint venture. Safring News 25:41-42.

Spina F. 1996. The EURING Swallow Project. Safring News 25:44-46.

Spina F. 1998. The EURING Swallow Project. Safring News 27:41.

Underhill LG. 1997. Reviews: European Swallows Hirundo rustica in Botswana. Safring News 26:43.

Van den Brink B. 1994. Swallow trapping with tape lures. Safring News 23:20-21.

Van den Brink B. 1994. The Botswana Swallow project: December 1993 to January 1994. Safring News 23:40-42.

Van den Brink B. 1995. Botswana swallow project for 1994-1995. Safring News 24:81-82.

Van den Brink B & Van der Have TM. 1993. Swallow ringing in the Netherlands and southern Africa: the Botswana Swallow Project. Safring News 22:27-29.

Van den Brink B, Bijlsma RG, van der Have TM. 2000. European Swallows Hirundo rustica in Botswana during three non-breeding seasons: the effects of rainfall on moult. Ostrich 71:198-204.

Van der Have TM, van den Brink B. 1998. Barn Swallows in Africa: Effects of rainfall on body condition and speed of moult. Ostrich 69:17.

6. Research


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Last updated 21-Oct-2003