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Wire-tailed Swallow

Wire-tailed Swallow
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-10-09
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-02-09 22:58
Viewed: 4664
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 74
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Wire-tailed Swallow / Hirundo smithii

For those of you who visit my images on a regular basis would know that I am sharing a series of birds that are found in the Kruger National Park, and which I have been fortunate to capture. I would have loved to share all of them with you, but unfortunately there are still too many that I have not even had the privilege to see, let alone to photograph as they evaded me every time we visited the park. Today I share number 56 in this series, the Wire-tailed Swallow.

The Wire-tailed Swallow is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. Swallows are somewhat similar in habits and appearance to other aerial insectivores, such as the related martins and the unrelated swifts (order Apodiformes).

They breed in Africa south of the Sahara and in tropical southern Asia from the Indian subcontinent east to Southeast Asia. It is mainly resident, but populations in Pakistan and northern India migrate further south in winter. This species is an uncommon vagrant to Sri Lanka.

This bird is found in open country near water and human habitation. Wire-tailed Swallows are fast flyers and they generally feed on insects, especially flies, while airborne. They are typically seen low over water, with which they are more closely associated than most swallows.

The neat half-bowl nests are lined with mud collected in the swallows beaks. They are placed on vertical surfaces near water under cliff ledges or more commonly on man-made structures such as buildings and bridges.

The clutch is three to four eggs in Africa and up to five in Asia (Turner and Rose). These birds are solitary and territorial nesters, unlike many swallows, which tend to be colonial.

This striking species is a small swallow at 14cm in length. It has bright blue upperparts, except for a chestnut crown and white spots on the tail. The under parts are white, with darker flight feathers. There is a blue mask through the eye.

This species gets its name from the very long filamentous outermost tail feathers, which trail behind like two wires. Sexes manifest similar appearances, but the female has shorter "wires". Juveniles have a brown crown, back and tail. The Asian form is larger and longer-tailed than the abundant African one.

In other languages this bird is called: Draadstertswael (Afrikaans), Roodkruinzwaluw (Dutch), Hirondelle ŕ longs brins (French), Rotkappenschwalbe (German) and Andorinha-cauda-de-arame (Portuguese).

The scientific name of this bird is after Professor Chetien Smith, a Norwegian botanist, who was a member of the British expedition to the Congo River in 1816, led by James Kingston Tuckey. Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

aruntp, Merlin, ramthakur, CeltickRanger, lazyman, cobra112, anel, girni, KOMSIS, rousettus, Argus, Mamagolo2, Jakkals, Alan_Kolnik, tuslaw, Hormon_Manyer, peter_stoeckl, freakywindow, waylim has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Anna,
Awesome pic swallows, very nice colors, great sharpness.

很漂亮的小鳥 照的清晰
神情可愛 那一片紫色羽毛很是美麗

  • Great 
  • aruntp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 590 W: 1 N: 357] (5379)
  • [2013-02-09 23:50]

beautiful bird species. nice clarity and presentation. interesting closeup. good work. tfs.

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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-02-10 1:00]

Hello Anna,
Very beautiful photo of this Wire-tailed Swallow. Splendid clarity and light. The metallic colours on the wings are gorgeous. Excellent sharpness, POV and beautiful contrasting blurry background. The swallow seems surprised.

Hello Anna,
Bravo pour la maîtrise de la netteté et de la profondeur de champ.
Best regards.

Hello Anna,

Thanks for sharing this colorful swallow..excellent sharpness with rich color redention..very nicely captured indeed..

Warm Regards,

Anna, this is a beautiful image of this colourful and delicate little bird. The lighting has caught the blue iridescence well, and the bright catch-light in the bird's big black eyes bring the image to life. Perfect balance of exposure between the black and white areas, pin-sharp and a complementary smooth background too. Very nice ;-)
Best wishes, Nigel.

Hello Anna,
I have been looking for something to constructively critique this image by and I could find nothing .... and definitely nothing negative either. Just sheer pleasure to view in your high quality trademark. Very well done indeed. Until some years ago I was under the impression that all swallows migrate until I observed some in winter here where they nest in vertical sand faces next to the river. Will try and find out whether it is the same species. Best wishes.

Beautiful capture of a Wire-tailed Swallow, Anna. We see this bird here in India too. I too photographed it once on my school campus. It was perched on an electric wire and none of my pictures of it turned out worth anything.
In your picture, the focus is exceptionally sharp and the colours have come out beautifully.
Thanks for sharing this lovely image.

Hello Anna

Excellent photo of the Wire-tailed Swallow
with fine POV at its level, beautiful light,
beautiful catch-light, great focus, sharpness, details, TFS


hello Anna
great sharpness shot of this beautiful coloured swallow
nice composition with very good light
thanks greeting lou

ps thanks for your nice comments

Hello Anna,
Nice capture from a perfect POV and excellent sharp details.
Best regards,

Hello Anna,

You're capturing well this bird by a good composition and excellent tone/clarity, so it's interesting and impressive to see the cute Wire-tailed Swallow with brown head, blue back, long tail with dark brown and white belly. And, the whole is harmonized well by a good color balance of this bird, stopping board and the background.

Kind regards,

Ciao Anna, great capture of lovely bird in nice pose, fantastic colors, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-02-10 11:15]

Hi Anna,very good capture of this swallow,i like the perfect pose and the excellents details everywhere,beautiful small light reflection on the eye!Have a nice week and thanks,Luciano

Ciao Anna. Excellent details indeed with brigh colours and exciting light. Impressive focused eye.


Hi Anna
Very sharp and colourful capture. Great composition with a super eye catch and pose, placed on a very complimentary back ground.
Thanks for sharing
Best regards

Hello Anna
Interesting species and beautiful photo with good composition, wonderful colours and impressive sharpness.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-02-10 23:00]

Beautiful portrait of this colorful swallow captured with perfect viewpoint. tfs.

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  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2013-02-11 0:33]

Hello Anna,
This picture is so cute and well done! What a beautiful swallow-species, one I never had seen until now. Excellent light-management, the plumage of the bird looks so shiny. Interesting and beautiful posting. Thanks!

  • Great 
  • girni Silver Note Writer [C: 7 W: 0 N: 13] (193)
  • [2013-02-11 0:50]

beautiful development of this bird, sharpness and composition Bravo

Hello Anna,fantastic capture, details and light very very beautiful, Working perfectly in post production. Regards, Paolo

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  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2013-02-11 10:23]

Hallo Anna,
Fantastic bird ..
Lovely bird with fantastic colors, fine details and sharpness, wonderful composition.
Best wishes,

Hallo Anna
I have not seen this beautiful swallow in nature. Recently receorded it in Al Ain in border of UAE and Oman. I have visited this area in same days. Unfortunately I could not.
You are lucky not only seeing, but also capturing with such a great shot. Everything great from colors to exposure and focus. Thanks for sharing this beauty. Have a good night

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2013-02-13 6:35]

Hello Anna,
You kept this beauty in your archives for far too long! A nice lateral POV shows this Wire-tailed Swallow with top sharpness in lighting that accentuates the natural colours beautifully. Great to see this bird, a species that I have only seen in flight.
Thanks and best regards,

Hello Anna my vriendin,
Ons het lanklaas gesels. Soos gewoonlik het jy vir ons weereens een van jou pragtigste foto's geplaas. Jy het net die ongelooflike gawe om net beter en beter te neem. Hierdie een is voorwaar 'n wenner!

Hello Anna
An excellent photo, brilliant light and colours, very good point of view, nice detail.
A perfect portrait of this species with the strange tail.
regards yiannis

hello Anna
Superbe prise: Bravo et merci

Hallo Anna,
Now this is what I call clarity!! Superb sharpness and fantastic detail showing the beautiful colours reflecting from the darker colouration on it's body. The contact and low POV combined with the contrasting BG makes this a perfect composition. Thanks for sharing and keep the good work up.
Best regards,

Lovely little bird with beautiful colors and very sharp and well exposed technically. Catching a good shot of a swallow is quite and achievement!

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-02-23 19:27]

Hello Anna,
I somehow missed this little bird...and what a beautiful Swallow at that. It reminds me somewhat of our Tree Swallows here in Ohio, except yours has a pretty rufous colored cap.
I love the tiny glint of catchlight in it's eye and outstanding detail you managed to capture. With it's long tail I would imagine it makes quite a spectacular sight while inflight. Nicely presented with an attractive blurred BG.

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  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2013-02-25 21:11]

Hello Anna
very beautifully composed shot. The ye is so lively and well een in good sharpness. The color composition of the feathers and the perched object is so fabulous. The soft and smooth background also render an attractive and catchy image.
Very well presented view.


Hello Anna!
Super wonderful little bird with lovely colors.Nice shot,indeed.TFS
Nice w-end!
Big hug from,

Hi Anna,

Beautiful, clear capture of this nice passerine bird, great use of lights. The composition is simple yet very effective, the beautifully blurred and very differently colorized background helps a lot to the eyes to isolate the subject. Top class shot, huge congratulations! The only change on the photo I can imagine is cropping a bit more of the top, imho the compo may be even more powerful that way. Just an idea.

At the same time thank you so much for visiting my portfolio and for your kind words about my 250th post. Best regards, László

Dear Anna,
in a most beautiful simple and clear composition and brilliant light you are presenting that cute Wire-tailed Swallow. Very lively and charming, a pleasure to see. Thank you!
With best regards,

Anna, thank you for the warm words of welcome that you gave me a couple of weeks ago on my recent postings after a long time of absence! Sorry for the delay in responding.

Wonderful image of a great subject, bright colors with minute details. Thanks for sharing


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  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2013-04-02 1:24]

Hi Anna,
Excellent colours,detail and perfectly sharp photo.
Very good work.
Regards Jiri.

Hi Anna,
Excellent sharp image. Well captured.
With regards,

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  • waylim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 296 W: 8 N: 489] (1765)
  • [2013-04-03 12:55]

Hello Anna,

Just dropping by to say "Hi" Sorry, have not been around here much. Nice to see some of your wonderful shot in the world of little creatures. Good to escape from our world and go into their for a little while and fly free.

This is again a wonderful quality photo. Look at the eye, sparkle with light and the head of rich brown feather and glistening velvety blue and purple back. All is so crispe and clear.

Hope all is well with you.


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