Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

Image by Becky Laboy

Physical: Barn swallows have dark blue coloration on the back of the head, wings, tail, and back. The rusty orange-colored patch on the throat and front of the face stands out from this dark blue as well as the white to orange-colored underside. As seen typically in swallows, this species has long wings for their size and a uniquely shaped tail with a deep fork due to varying feather lengths. They are 6-7.5 inches (15-19 cm) long with a 11.5-12.5 inch (29-32 cm) wingspan.

Habitat: Open areas such as fields, coastal marshes, lakes, ponds, and beaches all provide ample foraging opportunities. Being near bodies of water is necessary for nesting as mud is used in the construction of their nests.

Feeding: Barn swallows feed on large flying insects almost entirely while in flight, utilizing the open areas that they inhabit.

Breeding: Males of the species typically maintain a small territory through aggressive behaviors towards other males. Both the male and female in a pair contribute to the construction of the nest, which is unique due to being primarily built out of mud. The cup is made with mud and grasses, then lined with softer plant material and feathers. These nests can be reused in the following years and will contain a clutch of 3-7 eggs.

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