White-throated Swallows in Cape Town

Pair-of-adult-White-throated-Swallows

White-throated Swallows are common in Cape Town in the summer months, building their nests under the multiple bridges that cross canals and rivers. They migrate north in Africa for the wet winter.

Ringing of these swallows (both adults and nestlings) has been opportunistic most of the time, while ringing weavers in wetlands around Cape Town. Nevertheless, some interesting data has been obtained. Most chicks were ringed in October and November, matching the peak of October to December. Brood size varied from 2 to 4 (average 2.8) – this compares with published clutch size of 2-5 (mean 3.2), suggesting a small mortality of eggs laid to chicks fledged.

White-throated-Swallows-chicks-nearly-ready-to-fledge-and-ready-to-be-ringed
White-throated-Swallows-chicks-nearly-ready-to-fledge-and-ready-to-be-ringed

 

One adult White-throated Swallow was recaptured 3 years later and another 2 years later, and two others a few months later. All recaptures were in the same area, suggesting a high site fidelity in this species. None of the 33 chicks ringed has been recaptured to date.

Sites-where-White-throated-Swallows-chicks-have-been-ringed-in-Cape-Town-no.-of-chicks-shown
Sites-where-White-throated-Swallows-chicks-have-been-ringed-in-Cape-Town-no.-of-chicks-shown

 

The range and numbers of this species have increased in the Western Cape due to the widespread availability of impoundments and structures that can be used as nesting sites. The White-throated Swallow could be an interesting subject of more detailed studies.

Pair-of-adult-White-throated-Swallows
Pair-of-adult-White-throated-Swallows
Dieter Oschadleus
Dieter Oschadleus
Dieter Oschadleus leads the BDI bird ringing expeditions, and is able to organise bird ringing courses (having run many courses in South Africa, and some in the Seychelles). Dieter is also a registered bird guide in South Africa, and has birded widely in Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. Dieter is able to act as a bird guide for day trips in Cape Town, and is able to customise birds tours in South Africa and beyond.