Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

Summary 5

Barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) have cobalt blue bodies with buff to rufous chests and cinnamon colored faces and throats. They have long forked tails that are easily seen both when the birds are perching and when they are in flight. Males have bolder coloration than females.

Similar SpeciesCliff Swallows are much darker in color, have a white forehead and a square tail.

Where on campus? 6

Barn swallows are seen nesting on the sides of some of the buildings around campus. They will frequently associate with the large colonies of cliff swallows feeding on swarms of insects in the air.

Habitat 6

Barn Swallows are found in open areas such as grasslands, marshes, swamps,farmlands and city parks, where they forage. They nest in caves, cliffs and also on buildings. They need a source of mud for nest building.

Life History 6

NestingMales and females build cup-shaped nests using mud from a nearby water source. Their nests are cup shaped. They do not nest in large colonies the way that the Cliff Swallows do. Females will produce 1-2 broods/year and chicks are altricial.

Feeding Primarily eat insects caught on the wing. When they forage in mixed flocks, they will often be the lowest flying

Distribution 6

Worldwide species that primarily breeds in the Northern Hemisphere and migrates to wintering grounds in the Southern Hemisphere.

Migration 6

Barn Swallows breed in North America and migrate to Central and South America.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) JJ Cadiz, Cajay, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  2. (c) Jörg Hempel, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  3. (c) Lip Kee, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  4. (c) Jose Sousa, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  5. Adapted by gillian360 from a work by (c) Leo Shapiro, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  6. (c) gillian360, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)

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