Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Brown & Bomberger Brown, "First Record of the Cave Swallow for Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (March 1992) 60(1).


Copyright 1992, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.



The Cave Swallow (Hirundo fulva) is patchily distributed from central Texas and southeastern New Mexico south to southern Chihuahua, Coahuila, and San Luis Potosi; in central Chiapas, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo; in the Greater Antilles east to Puerto Rico; and in southwestern Ecuador and northwestern Peru (A.O.U. 1983). Vagrants are occasionally recorded in Arizona, Florida, and along the Gulf and East Coasts of the United States north to Nova Scotia. The Cave Swallow has seldom, if ever, been reported in the north-central U.S. The species is unknown for Nebraska (N.O.U.R.C. 1988, 1989), and, from examination of American Birds and Audubon Field Notes from 1947 to the present, we could not find any records for Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, Iowa, or South Dakota. No records of Cave Swallows for the Great Plains were listed in Johnsgard (1979).

On May 31, 1991, we, along with Bara MacNeill and Jessica Thomson, mist-netted a juvenile Cave Swallow (Fig. 1) at a road culvert under Highway 26 near Ash Hollow State Park in Garden County, Nebraska. About 140 active Cliff Swallow (H. pyrrhonota) nests were also in this culvert, and the Cave Swallow probably had been attracted to the site by the activity of the Cliff Swallows. We were initially unsure of the bird's identity, so we took it to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Cedar Point Biological station in Keith County for further study and photography. We banded the bird with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service band no. 2081-89857, and released it near the biological station later in the day on May 31.