Sunday, 23 August 2009

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Adult Barn Swallow (subspecies H. r. rustica) at Geddington, Northants - May 2013

OTHER NAMES: Swallow, Common Swallow
Local Name (Japan): Tsubame (ツバメ) - "Swallow"
Local Name (Spain): Golondrina común ("Common Swallow")
Featured Subspecies: Hirundo rustica rustica
Weight: 16-22g
Length: 17-19cm
Wingspan: 32.34cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

A widely spread bird, the Swallow is almost certainly one of the easier species to see in the UK and they Summer right across Eurasia; I also saw this species feeding over rivers on my visit to Japan. In the Winter they migrate southwards, in the case of the UK birds, to Sub-Saharan Africa. Swallows are insectivores and next under eaves and in barns - they are perhaps not quite as common as the smaller sand martin, but their very forked tail, glossy blue coloration and red throat makes them easy to distinguish if you get a good view. As with other high speed aerial feeders - photographing them is substantially harder than seeing them - for a compact camera like mine, I would recommend manually focusing to the approximate height at which they are flying and then taking photos until you get them. Alternatively, just wait until you catch them landed - they often perch on wire fences or overhead cables.

Related Species: 
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Genus: Hirundo
Subspecies: H. r. rusticaH. r. transitiva, H. r. savignii, H. r. tytleri, H. r. gutturalis, H. r. mandschurica, H. r. erythrogaster

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A common Summer migrant (860,000 territories)
 - Birds seen at sites including Rutland WaterTrevose HeadRainham MarshesElmley Marshes, and Geddington.
JAPAN - Fairly common Summer migrant.  Subspecies H. r. gutturalis.
 - KYOTO 2013 TRIP: Several seen at Arashiyama
SPAIN - Scarce and Local Resident
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: Seen flying over Laguna Navaseca.

Further Information: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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