Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

The Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) is a small migratory passerine bird belonging to the family Hirundinidae. It is one of the most widespread and familiar bird species in the world, with a range that spans across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Barn Swallow is known for its agile flight and distinctive appearance, making it easily recognizable among other bird species.

Physical Characteristics:

The Barn Swallow measures around 17-19 centimeters (6.7-7.5 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 32-34.5 centimeters (12.6-13.6 inches). The bird has a sleek, streamlined body with long, pointed wings and a deeply forked tail, which is a key identifying feature. The adult Barn Swallow’s plumage is characterized by a dark, glossy blue-black color on the back and wings, a rusty-red forehead and throat, and a pale or buff-colored underside.


The Barn Swallow primarily feeds on flying insects, such as flies, mosquitoes, and ants, which it catches in mid-air using its agile flight skills. This feeding behavior, known as “hawking,” is essential for the bird’s survival, as it relies on a steady supply of insects for energy and sustenance.

Reproduction and Lifecycle:

The breeding season for the Barn Swallow typically occurs between April and August, depending on the location. These birds are monogamous and form long-lasting pair bonds. They construct cup-shaped nests made of mud and plant materials, often built on human-made structures such as barns, bridges, or houses, which provide shelter and protection from predators.

The female lays 3 to 7 white or pale, speckled eggs, which are incubated by both parents for approximately 14-16 days. After hatching, the chicks are fed and cared for by both parents until they fledge, or leave the nest, at around 18-23 days old. The young birds become fully independent within a few weeks of fledging and may breed in their first year.

Conservation Status:

The Barn Swallow is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its large global population and extensive range. While the species is not facing any major threats, it can be affected by habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change, which may impact its insect prey and nesting sites. Conservation efforts for the Barn Swallow include monitoring populations, protecting nesting sites, and promoting sustainable agricultural practices that minimize the use of harmful pesticides.

Updated: 20 April 2023 — 14:27

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *