Barn Swallow

Name (Latin): Hirundo rustica

            Size: Length of 15-19 cm. Similar in size to the other sparrows. Slightly smaller than red-winged blackbirds. Larger than finches & waxwings. 

                        Description:  Marked by its distincitive forked tail.The adult male has blue-black upper parts;  rufous colored breast, and buffy underbelly. The Adult female is Similar but underparts paler and tail less forked.

                           Song/Sounds: Listen here

         Habitat: Nests almost exlusively in man-made structures. Lives nearby,frequenting cultivated fields dieting on insects.

                          Seasons in Keene: Spring, Summer, and Fall.

                                                Nest and Eggs: The nest is an open cup of mud and grass. Lined with fine grass stems, hair, and feathers. Nest is fastened to a vertical wall under an overhang or placed on a ledge. The eggs are creamy colored, with small dark spots. Newly hatched barn swallows are completely dependenton their parents, and covered in acoat of light down feathers.

Similar Species:Tree swallow, cliff swallow.

Distribution: 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.

                     Population trends: The Barn Swallow has benefited greatly from human activity. Artificial structures have allowed it to move into new areas and nest in higher densities than ever before. As a result, populations are much greater than they were before European settlement of North America

         Threats: Few. Individual birds threatened by loss of strucures on which they build their nests. Loss of field habititat is of concern.

                        Fun Facts: 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.

                     Video: Here's a long video of a female's nesting behavior