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The Hirundinidæ or Swallow Family

This family includes the swallows and the martins.

The swallows commonly found on the Nilgiris in summer are the Nilgiri house-swallow (Hirundo javanica) and the red-rumped or mosque swallow (H. erythropygia). I regret to have to state that Oates has saddled the latter with the name "Sykes's striated swallow"; he was apparently seduced by the sibilant alliteration!

Those two swallows are easily distinguished. The latter is the larger bird; its upper parts are glossy steel-blue, except the rump, which is of chestnut hue. The house-swallow has the rump glossy black, but it displays a good deal of red about the head and neck.

In the cold weather the European swallow and two species of martin visit the Nilgiris.