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Swallow

Hirundo rustica

Fáinleog

Barn Swallow

Status: Common summer visitor throughout Ireland from mid-March to late-September.

Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland due to concerns over the entire European population. This has undergone large historical decline and has been evaluated as Depleted and is still declining in several countries.

Identification: A common and easy to see species. Adults are instantly recognisable by their glossy black wings and back, long tail streamers and contrasting white undersides. At close range, the red face-patch can be seen, as well as a narrow black breastband. In juveniles, the face-patch is a pale orange, while the tail streamers are appreciably shorter than on adults.

Similar Species: Sand and House Martin

Call: Very vocal. The song consisting of several musical twittering notes followed by a short buzz can be frequently heard. A “tswit-tswit” call is given when a bird of prey such as Sparrowhawk or Peregrine is spotted.

Diet:  Swallows feed almost exclusively on insects (midges, flies) caught in flight.

Breeding: Constructs a bowl-shaped nest out of mud in suitable spots in barns and other buildings.

Wintering
: Swallows spend the winter in southern Africa, migrating across the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert in spring and autumn.

Where to See: Common throughout Ireland in the summer. Large flocks gather at wetland sites prior to migration in autumn.

Monitored by
: Countryside Bird Survey and BirdTrack.

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