The barn swallow - profile


Surname: Barn swallow
Other names: /
Latin name: Hirundo rustica
class: Birds
size: 17 - 20cm
mass: 16 - 25g
Older: 3 - 8 years
Appearance: Belly side white, back plumage dark blue to bluish black
Sexual dimorphism: low level
Nutrition type: Insectivore (insectivore)
food: Flies, beetles, mosquitoes
distribution: worldwide
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: open landscapes with low vegetation
natural enemies: Owl, hawk, sparrowhawk
sexual maturity: with the second year of life
mating season: March April
breeding season: about 14 - 18 days
clutch size: 2 - 7 eggs
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting facts about the barn swallow

  • The barn swallow or hirundo rustica is one of the passerine birds and is considered the most common in Central Europe swallows.
  • It is widespread throughout Europe, with the exception of Iceland and the northern regions of Norway.
  • As a migratory bird, it spends only months between March and October in Europe, before setting off for its winter quarters in Central and South Africa in the fall.
  • In the past, barn swallows were found in every rural settlement. With the disappearance of small farms, their hatcheries have gradually been pushed so far that numbers have been steadily declining since the 1970s. Today, an estimated sixteen to thirty million breeding pairs live throughout Europe, with a maximum of six million in Central Europe.
  • The barn swallow is unmistakable for its conspicuous bifurcated tail, slender physique and pointed wings. It reaches a body length of about nineteen centimeters.
  • The sexes can be easily distinguished on the length of their tail tips, because the females have a significantly shorter tail than the males.
  • The plumage of the barn swallow appears white on the belly side, dark blue to blue-black on the back. Striking are the rusty brown throat and the underlying dark chest.
  • Their food, which mainly consists of flies and mosquitoes, is captured by the barn swallow exclusively in flight.
  • On the hunt, it can reach speeds of up to eighty kilometers per hour and is capable of extremely fast and surprising changes of direction.
  • The nest of the barn swallow consists of clay and earth, which glue the birds together with their saliva. Between the individual lumps the barn swallow also binds blades of grass and straw. The nest is softly padded with feathers, hair and plant material and is completely closed except for a small entry hole.
  • Barn swallows prefer to breed in small colonies on the facades of farms and in barns or stables, which are in the midst of open cultural landscapes. They are therefore considered as cultural successors, who are dependent on the tolerance of man.
  • The females lay their eggs from April and incubate them for about fourteen to eighteen days. The boys fled about three weeks after hatching. Many couples then breed another clutch.
  • The barn swallow has a life expectancy of about eight years. However, many animals fall victim to hawks or sparrowhawks.