Striated Swallow collecting mud

posted in: Nesting | 4

The Striated Swallow (Hirundo striolata badia) is a resident as well as a winter visitor to Malaysia. According to Wells (2007), resident birds start breeding in early February and April, laying eggs in late April to late June. They collect mud pellets that they plaster onto the ceiling of caves or any suitable surfaces to build bulb- to flask-shaped structures with horizontal entrance tunnels.

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS documented two pairs of Striated Swallows on the ground collecting mud for their nests on 15th November 2009. The location is Tambun Interior, Perak, Malaysia. The area has limestone hills nearby for nesting and apparently the birds are starting to breed early. They are seldom seen on the ground, coming only for nesting materials.

Wells, D.R., 2007. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.

4 Responses

  1. Joseph Lai

    Hi Dr Amar-Singh,

    good day to you doc. From your photo alone, I can only assume the bird collect the mud with its feet. Or is it with the beak? And I do wonder (from the dark colour of the mud) whether it is mud dug up by the mud lobster. Can you confirm that? If so, there we are… mud lobster’s ecological service to swallow’s breeding. : )

  2. Amar-Singh

    By using the beak. Photographic evidence by another bird watcher is here:

    This location was inland – a ex-mining pond near a limestone hills. Do not know enough about mud lobsters but doubt they are far from mangrove or coastal locations.

    Most of the Striated Swallow live next to limestone hills & mud is obtained from near by pool sides

  3. Joseph Lai

    Thanks. I am not familiar with the area in question. Since it is not anywhere near mangroves or brackish rivers, there should not be any mud lobsters around.

    Thanks for clarifying how the mud is carried by the beak to the nesting site. Still, the mud in the form of a pile on the ground would suggest to me is had been deposited. I am interested in such things where the various activities of different animals overlap as ecological services to members of a diverse animal community. Cheers.

  4. Amar-Singh

    It could just be the agricultural activities (fish farming & some
    vegetable farming) in the region that allows the mud to be heaped up.

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