BARN SWALLOW


Hirundo rustica


Description:

Swift and graceful fliers, Barn Swallows are long migrators, with some North American birds travelling as far south as Argentina. It is estimated that these birds will fly as much as 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) a day. They travel during the day, eating insects as they go. They can even feed their young while flying! Barn Swallows migrate in large groups.


Appearance:

Iridiscent dark blue upperparts. Pale cinnamon-orange underparts. Darker cinnamon-orange forehead and throat. Tiny, dark bill. Long, deeply forked tail. Sexes similar. Juveniles are similar to adults, except they have paler underparts and shorter tails. 5.75 to 7.75 inches in length.


Habitat:

Fields, farms, waterways, and suburban areas.


Nesting:

4-6 white eggs with brown spots. The incubation period is 13-17 days. Fledging occurs 18-23 days after hatching. Both parents help incubate the eggs and care for the young. The nest is a solid mud cup lined with feathers and soft plant material. It is typically built under a bridge, in a barn, or in a cave.


Observed Locations:

  • De Anza Cove, Mission Bay





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