The birds shown here belong to subspecies Progne tapera fusca, which breeds in Southern South America, but passes the winter further north.
According to the literature, a further subspecies, P. t. tapera, occurs in the Northeast. Individuals of this latter race do not have the brown-gray, spotty design on the median breast (see fotos).
Synonyms: Hirundo tapera LINNAEUS 1766; Hirundo fusca VIEILLOT 1817
Figure 1. Progne tapera fusca can easily be recognized by the band of gray-brown dots running down the median breast. In Fazenda Canaã, a flock of over 100 of these swallows could often be seen sitting on the wire that provided electricity to the farm house. The bird above is one of them.
The date of the photo (28-february) is interesting. The Brown-chested Martin breeds in southern South America, and migrates north for wintering. Our bird, and his flock, must have left their southern grounds quite early. This confirms Sick 1997, who wrote that the forming of migratory flocks in Rio de Janeiro can be observed as early as february (p. 680).To top of page
Figure 2. The upperparts of the Brown-chested Martin are brown-gray, without the steel-blue tinge which is characteristic for Progne chalybea.To top of page
Figure 3. Progne tapera fusca in flight.To top of page