Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow - Passeriformes Hirundinidae Hirundo rustica


Identification & Description:
• Small slender songbird.
• Tiny bill
• Dark orange forehead and throat
• Pale orange underparts
• Dark, iridiscent upperparts
• Long, deeply forked tail
• Juvenile similar to adult but paler underneath with a shorter tail
• Most often seen flying
• Will nest communally in mud nests under bridges, in barns and caves, etc
• Upperparts steely iridescent blue.
• Underparts rufous.
• Size: 15-19 cm (6-7 in)
• Wingspan: 29-32 cm (11-13 in)
• Weight: 17-20 g (0.6-0.71 ounces)

Similar species:
The Barn Swallow can be told from all swallows by its deeply forked tail.

Life History Groupings
• Migration Status: Neotropical migrant
• Breeding Habitat: N/A
• Nest Location: Mid-story/canopy nesting
• Nest Type: Open-cup
• Clutch Size: 4-5
• Length of Incubation: 13-17 days
• Days to Fledge: 18-23
• Number of Broods: 2
• Diet: Exclusively: Insects

• The Barn Swallow is the most abundant and widely distributed swallow species in the world. It breeds throughout the northern hemisphere and winters in much of the southern hemisphere.

• The long tail of a Barn Swallow may indicate the quality of the individual bird. Females prefer to mate with males that have the longest and most symmetrical tails.

• An unmated male Barn Swallow may kill the nestlings of a nesting pair. His actions often succeed in breaking up the pair and afford him the opportunity to mate with the female.

Other Names
Hirondelle des granges, Hirondelle rustique, Hirondelle de cheminée (French)
Golondrina ranchera, Golondrina tijerela (Spanish)

The barn swallow belongs to the family Hirundinidae of the order Passeriformes. It is classified as Hirundo rustica. The North American subspecies is Hirundo rustica erythrogaster.

Barn Swallow, common name for the most abundant species of the swallow family. A long-distance migrant, it breeds around the world in the northern hemisphere and winters in the southern hemisphere. The North American subspecies ranges from Alaska and Greenland to Tierra del Fuego. Male barn swallows are glossy-blue above; the underparts vary from white to deep chestnut, depending on the subspecies. The forehead and throat are bright chestnut, bordered by a complete or partial band of blue across the chest. The tail is deeply forked, and each tail feather, except the central pair, has a white spot on its inner web. Females are similar, but slightly duller in color, with a shorter tail. Most barn swallows now nest in man-made structures, usually near water, such as buildings, culverts, bridges, or even ferries. Their original nest sites were probably caves and crevices in cliffs.

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