Throwback Thursday: Strange Swallows from 1902

It’s Thurday! So, let’s dive into the avian hybrids literature and fish out a golden oldie. Today: hybrid swallows.

On June 14, 1893, in El Paso County (Texas, US) Edgar A. Mearns found a pair of swallows that were building a nest on an old building. He noticed that ‘the nest was similar to that of Barn Swallow, having the entrance at the top.’ And as any good ornithologist those days would do, he shot both birds.

The male turned out to be a Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), while the female was a hybrid between Barn Swallow and Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon lunifrons). In a short article, published in The Auk, Mearns describes this peculiar cross, but unfortunately without any pictures or drawings. Luckily, I found some recent pictures online (click here for more):


barn x cliff

Barn Swallow (left), Cliff Swallow (right) and a presumed hybrid in the center.



Mearns, E. A. 1902. Description of a hybrid between the Barn and Cliff swallows. The Auk, 19: 73-74.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s