Swallow (Hirundo rustica)


For the most part Swallows are insectivorous, taking flying insects on the wing. They particularly favour large insects including greenbottles, bluebottles and horseflies.


Swallows are characterised by their long tail streamers, glossy blue-black body and creamy-white underparts. They have a rich red forehead, chin and throat and the legs and bill are black. The female's tail streamers are shorter than those of the male. Juveniles are duller, lack both the red forehead, chin and throat and the tail streamers are much shorter.


Swallows like to build nests from mud and straw in quiet outbuildings with ledges and beams and quite often they will re-use old nests. The eggs are about 20 mm by 14 mm in size, and are smooth, glossy, and white with reddish speckles. The female will incubate the eggs and when they hatch the young are fed by both adults, who catch insects and collect them in their throats before returning to the nest.

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