Lesser Striped Swallow

Cecropis abyssinica

Striped Swallow, Cecropis abyssinica, photo © by Michael Plagens

Observed at Malaba on the border of Uganda and Kenya. December 2012.

From Wikipedia: The Lesser Striped Swallow is 15–10 cm long. It has dark blue upperparts with a red rump and a rufous-chestnut crown, nape and sides of the head. The underparts are white with dark streaking, and the upper wings and underwing flight feathers are blackish-brown. The underwing coverts are tawny. The blackish tail has very long outer feathers; these are slightly longer in the male than the female. Juveniles are duller and browner, with less contrast and shorter outer tail feathers. There are five or six subspecies differing in the extent of the underpart streaking.

Lesser Striped Swallow has heavier and darker underparts striping, a deeper red rump, and a brighter head colour than the larger Greater Striped Swallow. Lesser also prefers less open habitats. Lesser Striped Swallow is common, and has benefited from the availability of nest sites around habitation. It feeds mainly on flying insects, but has been known to eat small fruits. The flight is erratic, and the call is a nasal zeh zeh zeh zeh zeh.

Hirundinidae -- Swallow Family


  • Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by Zimmerman et al.
  • Birds of East Africa by Stevenson and Fanshawe

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 4 June 2013,
updated 13 May 2016.