Barn Swallows

four angry barn swallows on a branch

Between 5 3/4-7 3/4?,  the Barn Swallow is our most familiar swallow, and the only one with a deeply forked tail. Upperparts are dark steel-blue, underparts buff, throat and forehead rusty.

They eat flying insects, including flies, bees and wasps.

Habitat: Agricultural land, suburban areas, marshes, lake shores.

Nesting: 4-6 brown-spotted white eggs in a solid cup of mud reinforced with grass, lined with feathers and soft plant material, and placed on a rafter in a building or on a sheltered ledge.  Their voice is a constant liquid twittering and chattering.

The great majority of these birds now nest on or in buildings, but originally they used rocky ledges over streams and perhaps attached their nests to tree trunks in the shelter of branches. Barn Swallows perform long migrations; some that breed in the Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX and surrounding areas winter as far south as Argentina. Like other swallows, they migrate by day, often feeding as they travel. They are swift and graceful fliers, and it is estimated that they cover as much as 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) a day in quest of food for their young.

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