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Bird name:


Hirundo rustica




Swallows (Hirundinidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Open landscapes, Farm buildings

Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Polygamous, Colonial

Egg Colour:

White with red-brown markings.

Number of Eggs:

2 - 7

Incubation Days:

11 - 19

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:

Shallow, open cup of mud reinforced with grass, lined with feathers and soft plant material.

Nest Location:

Under or on a rafter in a building or sheltered ledge.




Swallow: Medium swallow with glittering blue-black upperparts and breast band and cream underparts. Red-brown forehead, chin and throat. Tail is deeply forked with long outer streamers, underside is white marked. Black legs, feet. Sexes are similar, male has longer tail streamers than the female in the spring. Juvenile is more dull and brown, with shorter tail streamers.

Range and Habitat

Swallow: Summer visitor throughout the UK and Ireland, less common in the north. Spends the winter in the south of Africa. Arrives in April and leaves in September and October. Preferred habitats include agricultural lands, open country in both lowland and upland areas, marshes, and lakeshores.

Breeding and Nesting

Swallow: Two to seven red-brown marked, white eggs are laid in a solid cup of mud reinforced with grass, lined with feathers and soft plant material, and built under or on a rafter in a building or sheltered ledge. Incubation ranges from 11 to 19 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Swallow: Diet includes insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, bluebottles, dragonflies, beetles, and moths. Barn swallows are quite opportunistic, and are often found following tractors engaged in plowing or mowing to take advantage of disturbed insects.


Swallow: Song consists of constant, liquid twittering and chattering.

Similar Species

Swallow: House Martin lacks the Swallow's tail streamers, red-brown forehead and throat, and dark collar.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The area of the face just below the bill.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX