Swallow

The swallows, martins, and saw-wings, or Hirundinidae, are a family of passerine songbirds found around the world on all continents, including occasionally in Antarctica. Highly adapted to aerial feeding, they have a distinctive appearance. The term "swallow" is used colloquially in Europe as a synonym for the barn swallow. Around 90 species of Hirundinidae are known, divided into 19 genera, with the greatest diversity found in Africa, which is also thought to be where they evolved as hole-nesters. They also occur on a number of oceanic islands. A number of European and North American species are long-distance migrants; by contrast, the West and South African swallows are nonmigratory. This family comprises two subfamilies: Pseudochelidoninae and Hirundininae. In the Old World, the name "martin" tends to be used for the squarer-tailed species, and the name "swallow" for the more fork-tailed species; however, this distinction does not represent a real evolutionary separation.

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