Black Saw-wing ( Psalidoprocne holomelaena, family: Hirundinidae)

Birds & Birding in the Kruger National Park South Africa. In Roberts 6 this bird was called Black Saw-wing Swallow

The Black Saw-wing (Latin name Psalidoprocne holomelaena) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 536 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 764 also a picture of the Black Saw-wing on page 801. The Black Saw-wing belongs to the family of birds classified as Hirundinidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Black Saw-wing is also known by these other names: Black Rough-wing, Black Rough-wing Swallow.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the Black Saw-wing was called the Black Saw-wing Swallow

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Black Saw-wing is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

In terms of distribution of the Black Saw-wing in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Black Saw-wing has been recorded in only 1 sections of the arbitrary Kruger Park regions I selected.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Black Saw-wing is a small bird about the size of a house sparrow. Do not take this relative indicator as anything other than a rough easy to remember indicator. It is not a accurate visualization. The height of the Black Saw-wing is about 17 cms and its weight is about 11 gms

You will find that the male Black Saw-wing plumage and colours are different to that of the female Black Saw-wing

  • Head is black.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is black.
  • Back is black.
  • Legs are black.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Black Saw-wing feeds on the ground, on the wing and in foliage mainly


Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Black Saw-wing is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Psalidoprocne holomelaena will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Black Saw-wing is to create the nest in a hole in the ground. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 1 to 3

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Black Saw-wing are: woodlands and grasslands

You can expect to see Black Saw-wing in flocks, or pairs or as single birds.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Inkonjane/Unomalahlana

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Swartsaagvlerkswael

German ... Sundevalls Sgeflgelschwalbe

Portuguese ... Andorinha-preta

French ... Hirondelle du Ruwenzori

Dutch ... Zwarte Kamzwaluw

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 536

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,