🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Greater Striped Swallow fledgling

Camera : Canon EOS 550D 
Taken in my back-yard (Tarlton Gauteng, South Africa)

After my Greater Striped Swallows (Cecropis cucullata) returned on the 25th September 2013, a bit late, normally they’re here at the beginning of September, they managed to rebuild their nest in the pump house and 3 days ago I found one of their fledglings inside the walled yard surrounding the pump house. This in itself is not a problem as it is quite safe there, I just hoped the parents knew it was there!

But I needn’t have worried. As I was taking photographs, they were circling overhead, twittering warnings and in general looking like they were going to attack me any moment. I sealed off the gate so nothing could get inside and left it in peace. Of course I will be checking on it often and probably put it inside the pumphouse for the night as we’ve been having heavy showers every night for the past week.

The Greater Striped Swallow is a large swallow and breeds in southern Africa, mainly in South Africa, Namibia and southern Zimbabwe. It is migratory wintering further north in Angola, Tanzania and southern Zaire.

The eggs are glossy white with a few brown spots; three eggs is a typical clutch (so I presume there might be one or two more babies somewhere). Incubation is by the female alone for 17–20 days to hatching. Both parents then feed the chicks. Fledging takes another 23–30 days, but the young birds will return to the nest to roost for a few days after the first flight.

This is a bird of dry open country, such as grassland, and has a preference for hills and mountains. It avoids more wooded areas, but is often found around human habitation.

 I actually brought him inside for the night as it started raining heavily just before dusk. This is the little fellow sitting on my calculator at 4am as I was awakened by his constant chirping. I put him back outside at dawn and the parents were there in a flash, answering his calls! I didn't bring him in last night and when I checked on him this morning I was greeted with a hungry chirp. It is now the third day and he still can't fly and I'm wondering how long the parents' patience is going to last. He is SO small...



  1. I know you will care for him [her ?] lovingly. I have a vision in my mind's eye of you mincing worms at 4 AM!

    1. Oh ha ha ha Kathryn! I have tried to force-feed him (her) with a bit of mince, but that little beak is so small I haven't had much luck with getting it open.So right now that's not an option, we'll have to rely on the parents to get him stronger. Thanks for your lovely comment and for stopping by.

  2. Lekker om te sien hoe knapie vorder!

    1. En knapie is nou missing! Was netnou uit om te gaan check op hom en hy is nêrens te vinde nie. Ek het die hek oop gelos ingeval sy ouers hom wil uitlok en hopelik is dit wat gebeur het.



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