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Hirundo rustica

Barn Swallow

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Hirundinidae


Hirundo rustica

Kourou, Cayenne, French Guiana; 5 April 2011 © Michel Giraud-Audine

The Barn Swallow is among the most well known of all the world’s birds. It is in fact “the” swallow, and has gone under the name “swallow” in Europe for thousands of years. The modifier barn is appropriate as it often makes its mud nest on the side of or inside of a barn or various other buildings. Its habit of using man-made structures is so strong that it no longer is possible to find Barn Swallows nesting in natural situations! Barn Swallows are easily identified in the New World as they are the only species of swallow with a deeply forked tail which shows a hidden white band centrally on the tail, in addition they are blue toned above and rusty below. This swallow is a fantastic long-distance migrant and is the only northern hemisphere breeder that regularly winters as far south as the Strait of Magellan. Astoundingly since the 1980s a small population of this northern swallow has started to breed in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina and this new population appears to be growing.

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Recommended Citation

. 2010. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website, for the distribution in Central America and/or Caribbean, and on a map provided by Robert S. Ridgely, for the South American distribution.

The data for the InforNatura maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Boreal Migrant
  • Primary Habitat:Pastures/agricultural land
  • Foraging Strata:Aerial
  • Foraging Behavior:---
  • Diet:Terrestrial invertebrates
  • Sociality:Mixed Flocks
  • Mating System:
  • Nest Form:Saucer
  • Clutch: -
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern