The Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) is the most widespread species of swallow in the world.It is a distinctive passerine bird with blue upperparts, a long, deeply forked tail and curved, pointed wings. It is found in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. In AnglophoneEurope it is just called the Swallow; in Northern Europe it is the only common species called a "swallow".There are six subspecies of Barn Swallow, which breed across the Northern Hemisphere. The Barn Swallow is a bird of open country which normally uses man-made structures to breed and consequently has spread with human expansion. It builds a cup nest from mud pellets in barns or similar structures and feeds on insects caught in flight. This species lives in close association with humans, and its insect-eating habits mean that it is tolerated by man; this acceptance was reinforced in the past by superstitions regarding the bird and its nest.The Barn Swallow is the national bird of Austria and Estonia.
THIS IS A NEST OF A BARN SWALLOW.
The adult male Barn Swallow of the nominate subspecies H. r. rustica is 17–19 cm (6.7–7.5 in) long including 2–7 cm (0.79–2.8 in) of elongated outer tail feathers. It has a wingspan of 32–34.5 cm (13–13.6 in) and weighs 16–22 g (0.56–0.78 oz). It has steel blue upperparts and a rufous forehead, chin and throat, which are separated from the off-white underparts by a broad dark blue breast band. The outer tail feathers are elongated, giving the distinctive deeply forked "swallow tail." There is a line of white spots across the outer end of the upper tail. The female is similar in appearance to the male, but the tail streamers are shorter, the blue of the upperparts and breast band is less glossy, and the underparts paler. The juvenile is browner and has a paler rufous face and whiter underparts. It also lacks the long tail streamers of the adult.The song of the Barn Swallow is a cheerful warble, often ending with ''su-seer'' with the second note higher than the first but falling in pitch. This species is fairly quiet on the wintering grounds.
THESE ARE THE EGGS OF A BARN SWALLOW.
The preferred habitat of the Barn Swallow is open country with low vegetation, such as pasture, meadows and farmland, preferably with nearby water.It breeds in the Northern Hemisphere from sea level to typically 2,700 m (8,900 ft), but to 3,000 m (9,800 ft) in the Caucasus and North America, and it is absent only from deserts and the cold northernmost parts of the continents.The Barn Swallow typically feeds 7–8 m (23–26 ft) above shallow water or the ground, often following animals, humans or farm machinery to catch disturbed insects, but it will occasionally pick prey items from the water surface, walls and plants.The Barn Swallow drinks by skimming low over lakes or rivers and scooping up water with its open mouth.The female lays two to seven, but typically four or five, reddish-spotted white eggs.