A barn swallow is one of the best known species of the group of long-winged perching birds that reside in most parts of the world. Barn swallows from the first brood and even unrelated birds often help in rearing of the hatchlings. A barn swallow looks like a conical sparrow, with a flatter head, pointed-tapered wings, and a distinct deep-forked tail. Gilbert White studied the barn swallow in detail in his pioneering work The Natural History of Selborne, but even this careful observer was uncertain whether it migrated or hibernated in winter. A barn swallow looks like a conical sparrow, with a flatter head, pointed-tapered wings, and a distinct deep-forked tail. Barn swallows used caves and cliffs for building of nests in the past. [38][39], The barn swallow typically feeds in open areas[40] 7–8 m (23–26 ft) above shallow water or the ground often following animals, humans or farm machinery to catch disturbed insects, but it will occasionally pick prey items from the water surface, walls and plants. Chicks are ready to leave the nest 15 to 27 days after hatching. 2. Its repetitive action of flying back and forth to any open barn or outbuilding in the country is a sure sign of summer. Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: AvesOrder: PasseriformesFamily: HirundinidaeGenus: HirundoSpecies: Hirundo rustica or H. Rustica. The nests are semicircular or half-cup shaped. If an adult swallow is occupying even a half-built nest or a fully-built nest, regardless of eggs, then the law protects it. Nests are made out of the mud, bird’s saliva and leaves. [54] Before man-made sites became common, it nested on cliff faces or in caves, but this is now rare. Barn swallows are widespread and abundant throughout their range although there may be local population declines due to specific threats. The weather used to be predicted by their flight. Other than flies, they eat beetles, wasps, butterflies, moths and bees. During the breeding, season Barn swallows hunt in pairs, but otherwise form often large flocks. A line of white spots can also be found across the outer end of the upper tail. The barn swallow has been recorded as breeding in the more temperate parts of its winter range, such as the mountains of Thailand and in central Argentina. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. These birds are usually fairly quiet on the wintering grounds. [9] Hirundo is the Latin word for "swallow"; rusticus means "of the country". Tail feathers are 0.79 to 2.76 inches long. [13] Given the uncertainties over the validity of these forms,[14][16] this article follows the treatment of Turner and Rose. [2] It is a distinctive passerine bird with blue upperparts and a long, deeply forked tail. Barn Swallows (have been found to have characteristic feather holes on their wing and tail feathers which are perhaps caused by avian lice like Machaerilaemus malleus and Myrsidea rustica. It has a dark orange throat and forehead and a paler orange chest Their estimated population is about 190 million. [6] Reed beds are an important source of food prior to and whilst on migration; although the barn swallow is a diurnal migrant that can feed on the wing whilst it travels low over ground or water, the reed beds enable fat deposits to be established or replenished. The Barn Swallow has a global range of 51.7 million sq. The rest of the body is pale rusty in color. [29] It is most common in open, low vegetation habitats, such as savanna and ranch land, and in Venezuela, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago it is described as being particularly attracted to burnt or harvested sugarcane fields and the waste from the cane. [6] This species is fairly quiet on the wintering grounds. There is a line of white spots across the outer end of the upper tail. It seems to have adopted humans as neighbors, typically placing its nest in barns or garages, or under bridges or wharves; indeed, it is now rare to find a Barn Swallow nest in a site that is not manmade. [12] Elsewhere, its long journeys have been well observed, and a swallow tattoo is popular amongst nautical men as a symbol of a safe return; the tradition was that a mariner had a tattoo of this fellow wanderer after sailing 5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi). Facts About Barn Swallow A barn swallow is one of the best known species of the group of long-winged perching birds that reside in most parts of the world. Climate change may affect Barn swallows in the way that drought causes weight loss and slow feather regrowth, and the expansion of the Sahara will make it a more formidable obstacle for migrating European birds. However, in Europe, the barn swallow consumes fewer aphids than the house or sand martins. [28], In North America at least, barn swallows frequently engage in a mutualist relationship with ospreys. European and Asian barn swallows winter in southern Asia and Indonesia and Micronesia. In Denmark, the average male tail length increased by 9% between 1984 and 2004, but it is possible that climatic changes may lead in the future to shorter tails if summers become hot and dry. Dark blue-black breast band, belly is white to orange. [2] In Africa the short tail streamers of the juvenile barn swallow invite confusion with juvenile red-chested swallow (Hirundo lucida), but the latter has a narrower breast band and more white in the tail. Brood parasitism by cowbirds in North America or cuckoos in Eurasia is rare. Overall, currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing. Tail is deeply forked with long outer streamers. Barn swallows are hard to find over the northern part of their range now. In Sweden she builds in barns, and is called ladusvala, the barn-swallow.[12]. The Barn Swallow is the most abundant and widely distributed swallow species in the world. It is anywhere between 6½ to 7½ inches long, with 12½- to 13½-inch wingspan. According to the IUCN Red List, the total Barn swallow population size is 290,000,000-487,000,000 mature individuals. Four of these species are migratory birds that fly to places in Southern Hemisphere like Central Argentina, Cape Province of South Africa and northern Australia in winter. 1. Copyright © Bird Eden & Buzzle.com, Inc. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 31. The barn swallow gives an alarm call when it sights a threat, alerting the osprey. [67], In the Old World, the barn swallow appears to have used man-made structures and bridges since time immemorial. About Us | The barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) is the most widespread species of swallow in the world.