Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

Welcome Swallow

Scientific name:

 Hirundo tahitica neoxena



Conservation status:

 Native. Not threatened

Mainland status:

 Widespread and locally common


 15cm, 14g




 August - March



Welcome swallows were first recorded as breeding in New Zealand in 1958, having self-introduced from Australia. They are now common in open country especially near water in lowland New Zealand, except in Otago and Southland, where they are still uncommon.

The head and back is blue-black and the forehead, throat and chest is rufous. The underparts are dull white and the deeply forked tail has a row of white spots near the tip. The song is a series of twitters, trills and cheeps.

Breeding takes place between August and March. Both birds build the half-cup nest of mud and grass, lined with dry grass, rootlets, hair, wool and a layer of feathers. The nest is placed on a ledge or attached to a rough vertical surface, often under bridges, culverts, eaves of houses, in sheds, caves, on rock outcrops or under overhanging banks. The clutch of 2–7 pale pink eggs, variably flecked reddish brown, is incubated by the female for 15–19 days. Both parents feed the chicks, which fledge at 18–23 days old. The young return to the nest to roost and continue to be fed for around 3 weeks.

Welcome swallows eat invertebrates, caught on the wing; mainly flies, including midges and blowflies, small beetles and moths.

Welcome swallows breed on Tiritiri Matangi and are often seen hawking for insects over the open grassy areas, and over the ponds.

Learn more about the welcome swallow at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Dr Kerry Rodgers ©

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking. Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.