Status: Least Concern
Description: It has steel blue upperparts and a rufous(reddish-brown) forehead, chin and throat, which are separated from the off-white underparts by a broad dark blue breast band. The outer tail feathers are elongated, giving the distinctive deeply forked "swallow tail". There is a line of white spots across the outer end of the upper tail. The female is similar in appearance to the male, but the tail streamers are shorter, the blue of the upperparts and breast band is less glossy, and the underparts paler. The juvenile is browner and has a paler rufous face and whiter underparts. It also lacks the long tail streamers of the adult.
The barn swallow got its name from typically being known to nest in barns and other man made structures. They are migratory birds that have six subspecies that are generally recognized.
Wing Span: 32 – 34.5 cm
Length: 17 – 19 cm
Weight: 16 – 22 g
Fun Facts !
The barn swallow is the most widespread species of swallow in the world. It has the largest natural distribution of any of the world's passerines, ranging over 251 million square kilometres globally. They are also one of the most depicted birds on postage stamps around the world.
Ecology and Behaviour
Although both sexes sing, female song was only recently described. Calls include 'witt' or 'witt-witt' and a loud 'splee-plink' when excited (or trying to chase intruders away from the nest). The alarm calls include a sharp 'siflitt' for predators like cats and a 'flitt-flitt' for birds of prey like the hobby. This species is fairly quiet on the wintering grounds. It is not a particularly fast flier, with a speed estimated at about 11 m/s (40 km/h), up to 20 m/s (72 km/h) and a wing beat rate of approximately 5, up to 7–9 times each second
Barn swallows eat mostly flies and aphids as well as flying ants, Grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, beetles and moths. When egg-laying, barn swallows hunt in pairs, but otherwise will form often large flocks.
The breeding season usually is from February or March to early to mid September, although some late second and third broods finish in October. Both sexes defend the nest, but the male is particularly aggressive and territorial. Once established, pairs stay together to breed for life, but extra-pair copulation is common, making this species genetically polygamous, despite being socially monogamous. Males guard females actively to avoid being cuckolded. Males may use deceptive alarm calls to disrupt extra-pair copulation attempts toward their mates
It is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a, " Least Concern ".
Distribution and Habitat
The preferred habitat of the barn swallow is open country with low vegetation, such as pasture, meadows and farmland, preferably with nearby water. This swallow avoids heavily wooded or precipitous areas and densely built-up locations. The presence of accessible open structures such as barns, stables, or culverts to provide nesting sites, and exposed locations such as wires, roof ridges or bare branches for perching, are also important in the bird's selection of its breeding range.
Interaction with humans
The barn swallow is an attractive bird that feeds on flying insects and has therefore been tolerated by humans when it shares their buildings for nesting. As one of the earlier migrants, this conspicuous species is also seen as an early sign of summer's approach.
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