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Unique White-tailed Swallow

Unique White-tailed Swallow
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-22
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-08-25 6:08
Viewed: 4925
Points: 56
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This morning I came back from a 4 weeks holiday in Ethiopia.
With a lot of bird photos.
And I was able to make several photos of endemic species of Ethiopia or NE Africa.

I’m starting with a very special photo.
This White-tailed Swallow, hirundo megaensis, is rarely been photographed. There’s a drawing of this Swallow in flight in ‘Birds of Africa, South of the Sahara’ by Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan.
I find a pair of this Swallows with my chauffeur 2 hours south of Yabello, 100 km North of the border of Kenia. It’s endemic to the surroundings of Yabello, South Ethiopia.
It’s similar to the Pearl-breasted Swallow but with a diagnostic white tail. So we recognised it easily. It lacks a red crown of the Wire-tailed Swallow. Female has less distinctive white tail. Juvenile is duller and browner above.
Habitat: Dry thornbush with large, tall, red-clay termite mound.
Status: Vulnerable. 2008 IUCN Red list of Threatened Species.
This species is believed to have a small population, and is suspected to be declining owing to the intensification of land-use across much of its small range. It is therefore treated as Vulnerable, although there is little information on its population status and the seriousness of threats.
Fairly common in its small range; usually seen in pairs.
Voice: Typical swallow-like twitterings and chirrups.
(Source: Birds of Africa, South of the Sahara. I. Sinclair and P. Ryan)

boreocypriensis, robindb, Argus, Juyona, eqshannon, Alex99, nglen, jaycee, siggi, rousettus, gracious, RII, uleko, Miss_Piggy, albert, cicindela, ramthakur, marhowie, Amadeo, Kathleen, Seabird, cataclysta has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Peter, my beloved friend!
Welcome back and hope you had good time in your vacation!
Realy unique bird and capture of this beautiful White-tailed Swallow which is novelty for me! Great DOF/POV and superb clarity.
Many thanks for sharing this beauty!
Greetings form Izmir,


Hi Peter,

Well done on capturing a rare bird. Hope somebody will buy it from you. Good exposure to get detail in the dark and light colours. Nicely perched and composed.
Looking forward to some more.



  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-08-25 6:58]

Hello Peter,
Welcome back from Ethiopia!
A superb capture of this rare species of Swallow, the White-tailed sharply portrayed against an OOF natural BG from a fine side POV and set in a great composition on the curved branch.
Congratulations on this rare and beautiful posting!

Hello Peter,

Beautiful capture of this lovely swallow. Nice composition with the bird perched on a branch with new and coming leaves. Good sharpness, light and colours.

  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-08-25 7:24]

Hello Peter,

You have posted a very nice photo with this swallow. Composition is very good with the pearch passing in the lower third of the photo. Main subject, the bird, is well placed. Image quality is very good rendering fine and with great details bird's plumage.

Thank you for sharing,

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-08-25 7:29]

Hola amigo,
bella captura,
perfecto foco y buen pov...
bg hermoso y pose.
saludos Peter.

Sometimes even small wondrous things happen in a persons life. What you perhaps never thought would happen, did. A very "lucky" sight for sure and you also had time enough to get some great adjustments in order to take best advantage of the situation. Congrats on this image for doggone sure..and welcome home!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-08-25 8:46]

Hi Peter.
Great photo trip trophy. This species is really beautiful. And you managed to catch this beauty at so attractive scenery. I like tree twigs with fresh small leaves, interesting BG, terrific exposure and colour/details reproduction. I also like wonderful 3D-effect. Perfect job. Bravo.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-08-25 10:02]

Hi Peter. Good to see you back i am sure you had a good time. This looks a cute little bird that you have for us today. A nice pose on the branch against the plain BG. good detail and natural colours. well done TFS.
good notes too.
I shall look forward to many more from the hoilday.


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-08-25 10:59]

Hi Peter,

It's so nice to see you again! Must have been a wonderful four week vacation. Beautiful Starling for your return post. A lovely looking bird posing so nicely on the branch. Beautiful colors and details of face, wings, plummage and tail feathers. It's always so nice to be introduced to a new bird.


Birds are such interesting, beautiful and well cute creatures. I love taking photos of them. I alos love seeing shots others have taken, especially of birds I have never seen. Its a nice shot, and seeing we are heaing into Spring, the buds and new leaves, remind me that summer is on its way and that is a comforting thought lol.

Nice shot.

welcome again, Peter. I am also came back just now after trip of two months and I find your great post. very beautiful swallow with a great POV, sharp details, superb colors and composition. Thanks for sharing. best wishes friend

Hello Peter,
Excellent posting of this beautiful Swallow!
the pose is just perfect with the sharpness, wonderful colour and details
welcome back, Pete!

  • Great 
  • RII Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 481 W: 0 N: 895] (2862)
  • [2008-08-25 22:37]

Hi Peter.

Excellent compostion point of view,very nice bird colors tones contrast and details of the capture,good note.

Thanks ....RICARDO.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-08-26 0:33]

Hello Peter,
Your composition and framing look great. Exposure is spot on with the nice colors. Well done!

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-08-26 3:31]

Hello Peter,
Very nice to see you back again. No doubt you have a lot to show us from now on! How lucky to find this beautiful Swallow and you managed to get a brilliant shot too! Details are very sharp and beautiful and the colours natural. A lovely background too in this fine composition.
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

Hallo Peter
These birds are such beautiful creatures and your posting is no exception. A wonderful capture in a natural pose. The sharpness is perfect, the colours vibrant and so many details to appreciate. Exposure, framing and focus are excellent. Perfect shot and one to appreciate. Very well done and thanks for sharing.
Kind regards

Hi Peter
Superb capture, nice composition with sharp details
Well done

Un beau plumage bien lissé.
Bonne journée.

Even one single picture of this high quality would make your trip to Ethiopia worth its while, Peter. After seeing it, my desire to see more of them has increased manifold.
This White-tailed Swallow, I am sure, is the first to make its appearance on TN and you deserve to be congratulated for it.
The image is perfect in every respect. I love the combination of colours on the bird.
Thanks a lot for sharing this great picture and best regards.

Hello Peter!
It is really nice to see you back! And after watching this picture I am sure that a lot of interesting species we will see soon :)
This is the first and -as for me - with new species of swallow. Very interesting and informative note.
TFS and I am waiting for next ones!
Friendly yours,

Hi Peter,
Very good exposure, detail/DOF, and color. Sounds like you've got quite a few bird shots up your sleeve from the trip :)
Excellent job on this rarely photographed endemic species.

  • Great 
  • Amadeo Gold Star Critiquer [C: 168 W: 0 N: 755] (3323)
  • [2008-08-27 10:37]

Hola Peter, buena fotografia de esta simpatica golondrina, agradable composición, buen enfoque y excelente exposición.
Los brotes del árbol es un detalle muy bonito. Un saludo

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-08-27 19:37]

Hello Peter, a wonderful capture for sure! Excellent all the way, well done! Thanks!


Hi Peter.
This is a lovely image of the swallow sitting on the branch with new leaf coming out.
What a beautiful coloured swallow. Great exposure and detail.


Hi, Peter,

what a beauty!! very attractive colours, details and composition!!! I like the atmosphere of this photo - it remidns one a sense of hope! tfs.

Man Yee

Mooi plaatje.
Heb deze soort eens geverifieerd door gebruik te maken van de Kruger map omdat ik dacht dat ie er ook terug te vinden was in Kruger. Niet zo!
Goed gedaan!

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-08-30 22:05]

What a very special shot, Peter.
This is a beautiful bird indeed, and you captured it in excellent light and very sharp details. It looks very nice perched on that twig with tiny new leaves.
The different values of blue come out nicely in this composition.
TFS. : )

Hi Peter
Beautiful bird. Great compo with main object on the right side and a branch, good OOF background and good sharpness I like it very much

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