Barn Swallow

From Academic Kids

Barn Swallow
Missing image

Scientific classification
Binomial name
Hirundo rustica
Linnaeus, 1758

The Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) is a small migratory passerine bird found in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Swallows of the European race spend the spring travelling northwards to their breeding grounds in Europe, as far north as the Arctic Circle. They winter in Africa. This bird is often just called 'swallow' in Europe, although the term 'swallow' refers more widely to various members of the Hirundinidae family.

Swallows have dark blue upperparts, white underparts and a small patch of red on their throats. They have a long forked tail and curved wings.

Missing image
North American
The North American Barn Swallow differs from the European form in having redder underparts. In the fall, North American birds migrate in flocks to South America. The resident African Rufous-breasted Swallow or Red-chested Swallow (H. r. semirufa) also has red underparts, and is sometimes considered a separate species, Hirundo semirufa.

Swallows are somewhat similar in habits and appearance to the other aerial insectivores, such as the related martins and the unrelated swifts (order Apodiformes). Swifts are larger than Swallows and dark except for a plain white throat. House Martins have white faces, a conspicuous white rump, and are smaller. Swallows are fast flyers (estimated at about 11m/s [1] ( and they generally swoop on insects while airborne. They are often seen flying relatively low in open or semi-open areas.

Barn Swallows build neat cup-shaped nests lined with mud collected in their beaks. They normally nest in accessible buildings such as stables or under bridges and wharves. Before these types of sites became common, these birds nested on cliff faces or in caves. The female typically lays 4 or 5 eggs. Both parents build the nest and feed the young.

The numbers of these birds in North America increased during the 20th century with the increased availability of man-made nesting sites. In recent years, there has been an ongoing gradual decline in numbers in parts of Europe and North America. However, this bird remains widespread and common.

The Barn Swallow has been the national bird of Estonia since June 23, 1960. To Estonians, the Barn Swallow represents free blue sky and eternal happiness. Also, according to legend, if one kills a Barn Swallow he will become blind.

External link

Image Gallery

af:Europese swael bg:Селска лястовица ca:Oreneta da:Landsvale de:Rauchschwalbe es:Golondrina eo:Domhirundo fr:Hirondelle rustique fy:Boereswel gl:Andoria ko:제비 nl:Boerenzwaluw ja:ツバメ pl:Jaskółka dymówka fi:Haarapsky zh:家燕


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools