Swallows Family Hirundinidae

Slim, streamlined form and graceful flight characterize these sparrow-sized birds. Pointed wings; short bill with very wide gape; tiny feet. FOOD: Mostly flying insects. RANGE: Worldwide except for polar regions, some islands.

TREE SWALLOW Tacliycineta bicolor Common M452

53A in. (15 cm). Adult: Male steely blue, tinged green, above; white below. Female slightly duller than male. Juvenile: Dusky gray-brown back and dusky smudge across breast. Tree Swallows have distinctly notched tail; glide in circles, ending glide with quick flaps and a short climb, voice: Rich chcet or chi-veet; a liquid twitter, weet, trit, weet, etc. similar species: May be confused with Violet-green Swallow (white or light brown above eye, more obvious white patches on sides of rump), Northern Rough-winged Swallow (dingy throat, different flight style), or Bank Swallow (bolder dark breast-band than juvenile Tree, smaller overall, browner above). All species also have different calls, habitat: Open country near water, marshes, meadows, streams, lakes, wires. Fall premigratory flocks roost in reeds. Nests in holes in trees, birdhouses.

BANK SWALLOW Riparia riparia Fairly common M455

5 in. (12 cm). Our smallest swallow. Brown-backed with slightly darker wings and paler rump. Note distinct dark breast-band. White of throat curls up behind ear. Wingbeats rapid and shallow. voice: Dry, trilled chitter or rattle, brrt or trr-tri-tri. similar species: Northern Rough-winged Swallow and juvenile Tree Swallow. When perched in mixed-species flocks, Bank's smaller size stands out. habitat: Near water; fields, marshes, lakes. Nests colonially in dirt and sand banks.

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW Fairlycommon M454

Stelgidopteryx serripennis

5'A in. (12 cm). Adult: Brown-backed; does not show contrast above that Bank Swallow does; throat and upper breast dusky; no breast-band. Flight more languid; wings pulled back at end of stroke. Juvenile: Has cinnamon-rusty wing bars, voice: Call a low, liquid trrit, lower and less grating than Bank Swallow's, similar species: Bank Swallow and juvenile Tree Swallow. habitat: Near streams, lakes, rivers. Nests in banks, pipes, and crevices, but not colonially as Bank Swallow does.

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW Tachycineta thalassina Fairlycommon M453

5'A in. (13 cm). Note white patches that almost meet over base of tail. Male: Dark and shiny above; adults glossed with beautiful green on back and purple on rump and uppertail; clear white below. White of face partially encircles eye. Female and immature: Somewhat duller above, and white above eye tinged grayish or brownish, voice: A twitter; a thin ch-lip or chew-chit; rapid chit-chit-chit wheet, wheet. similar species: Separated from Tree Swallow by pale feathering above eye, greener back, white patches on sides of rump, slightly smaller size, and shorter wings. See also White-throated Swift. habitat: Widespread when foraging. Nests in holes in cliffs and in trees in open forests, foothill woods, mountains, canyons, towns.

Green Wheet

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW

Bank

Tree

Purple Martin 3. 294)

Tree Swallows Wire Images

Swallows on a wire adult

Violet-green

Swallows on a wire

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW

adult

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW

Northern Rough-winged

Bank

Violet-green

Tree

Purple Martin 3. 294)

PURPLE MARTIN Fairly common in East, uncommon and local in West M451

Progne subĂ­s

8 in. (20 cm). The largest N. American swallow. Male: Uniformly blue-black above and below; no other swallow is dark-bellied. Female and juvenile: Light-bellied; throat and breast grayish, often with faint gray collar. Glides in circles, alternating quick flaps and glides; often spreads tail. voice: Throaty and rich tehew-wew, etc., or pew, pew. Song gurgling, ending in a succession of rich, low guttural notes. similar species: Tree and Violet-green swallows, much smaller than female Purple Martin, are cleaner white below. In flight, male martin might be confused with European Starling. habitat: Towns, farms, open or semiopen country, often near water. In East, nests exclusively in human-supplied martin houses. In West, uses cavities in trees (e.g., sycamores, ponderosa pines), posts, and, in s. AZ, saguaros; rarely martin houses.

CAVE SWALLOW Petrochelidonfulva Uncommon M457

5'/2 in. (14 cm). Similar to Cliff Swallow (rusty rump, square-cut tail), but face colors reversed: throat and cheeks buffy (not dark), forehead dark chestnut (not pale, although Cliff Swallows in Southwest have chestnut forehead). Buff color sets off dark mask and cap. voice: Clear, sweet wect or cheweet; a loud, accented chu, chu. similar species: Cliff Swallow; Cave has buffier throat and face, more deeply colored rump, different call, habitat: Open country. Cuplike nest placed in caves, culverts, and under bridges; nests colonially.

CLIFF SWALLOW Common in West, uncommon in East M456

Petrochelidon pyrrhonota

5V2 in. (14 cm). Note rusty or buffy rump. Overhead, appears square-tailed, with dark throat patch. Glides in a long ellipse, ending each glide with a roller coaster-like climb. voice: Zayrp; a low chur. Alarm call keer! Song consists of creaking notes and guttural gratings; harsher than Barn and Cave swallows' songs. similar species: Barn and Cave swallows. habitat: Open to semiopen land, farms, cliffs, lakes. Nests colonially on cliffs, barn sides, under eaves and bridges; rarely on trees. Builds mud jug, or gourdlike, nest. Barn and Cave swallows build cuplike open nest; and Barn Swallows often but not always nest inside the barn.

BARN SWALLOW Hirundo rustica Common M458

6}A in. (17 cm). Our only swallow that is truly swallow-tailed; also the only one with white tail spots. Adult: Blue-black above; cinnamon-buff below, with darker throat. Immature: More whitish below. Flight direct, close to ground; wingtips pulled back at end of stroke; not much gliding. voice: Soft vif or kvik-kvik, vit-vit. Also szee-szah or szee. Anxiety call a harsh, irritated ee-tee or keet. Song a long, musical twitter interspersed with guttural notes. similar species: Most other N. American swallows have notched (not deeply forked) tail. Cliff Swallow is colonial, building mud jugs under eaves or cliffs. See Cave Swallow. habitat: Open or semiopen land; farms, fields, marshes, lakes; often perches on wires; usually near habitation. Builds cuplike nest inside barns or under eaves, not in tight colonies like Cliff Swallow.

Mud Swallow Gliding

juglike nests under eaves or on cliffs; colonial

Southwest nests on beams inside barns

Andorinha Aquarela

BARN SWALLOW

J CAVE \ SWALLOW

juglike nests under eaves or on cliffs; colonial

BARN SWALLOW

nests on beams inside barns martin house

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