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Swallow: description, nutrition, reproduction, habitat

All of us are pleased to discover this bird in our own window, because when the swallows arrive, spring comes. These are migratory birds with long pointed wings and streamlined bodies. Due to this form of the body, their flight takes place very quickly. They are often seen over fields, gardens, lakes, where insects are abundant. They are recognized by the forked tail. There is a legend in which it says that this bird helped people to steal the fire from the gods, an angry god threw a burning coal into it, which, after hitting in the middle of the tail, burned it.

Swallow: description

Swallows have a metallic blue-black color, the breast and stomach are light gray, with a redhead on their foreheads in the young, in adults the breast and forehead are white. They have a long forked tail with a series of white spots on individual feathers. Swallow wings are sharpened, they have external steering feathers (streamers), in males they are slightly shorter than in females.

The size of an adult male is 17-19 cm in length, including the tail of 2-7 cm. The wingspan is 32-34.5 cm, in the air the bird does 5.3 strokes per minute, weight - 16-22 g. If the tail is shorter, It means that the female is a swallow. The description of a bird is very similar to a swift, and they are often confused. Head flattened, with short beak. In adults, moulting occurs approximately every year from August to March.

Swallows (and other small passerines) often have feathers on wings and tails in the form of small holes, such holes are created by parasites - bird lice and mites. Also, the enemies of these little birds are bats and birds of prey.

This bird is very widespread, it can be found all over the world, except for the northern regions. The flight of the swallow is not speedy, usually the speed is 5-10 km / h at an altitude of 7-9 meters above ground or water. At the same time it is very maneuverable, since it needs to catch insects in the air. In flight over the water can simultaneously perform bathing, diving into the water.


Swallows are insectivorous. In the air during the flight, they catch insects with their beaks wide open. In bad weather birds can eat some berries, seeds and dead insects. Prolonged precipitation can create problems for finding food, resulting in the swallow chicken dying. Flying over the water, the birds immerse their beaks in the water and scoop up moisture for drinking.


Spring swallows arrive around April, they build nests of mud and vegetable fibers on beams, under roofs of houses or on ledges of rocks, inside they cover with their straw and down. The existing nests are often updated and reused for almost 50 years. The time from the beginning of the construction of the nest to the departure of the young is from 44 to 58 days. Due to too fast construction or humidity, the nests can collapse or fall.

To build a house, birds collect dirt from the edges of ponds, puddles and ditches, for complete construction it will be necessary to fly from puddle to nest about 1000 times. Gathering dirt and building nests - social activities for rock swallows. On the surface of the puddles there are numerous small holes from their beaks.

Swallow Songs

The sounds that the bird publishes are like gurgling and chirping. So swallows communicate with each other when they feed the kids, fly to the nests and in the presence of danger. Published sound is low, soft, husky, like a creaking door.


These birds, as a rule, monogamous, keep in touch with one partner. Marriage for one season is also found, in rare cases, the male has two females. Often birds nest in colonies. Usually, a paired swallow aggressively protects a small area around the nest from other individuals. The description of reproduction and development is as follows:

  • In the masonry - from three to five eggs about 14 mm in diameter.

  • For a season there can be two broods.

  • Hatching chicks on the 12-17th day. Newly-born young animals are fed by both parents.

  • Among rock swallows, the "cuckoo effect" is widespread, when females lay eggs in other people's nests or shift them from their nests to neighboring ones.

  • Kids begin to fly from the 25-day-old age.

  • After they learn to fly, the young remain in the nest, and the parents continue to feed them. They leave the nest in a few days and stay in the area for several weeks.


The main reason for seasonal migration is the absence of insects. On this basis, we can conclude: when the swallows arrive, ticks and mosquitoes will soon bite. For a bird of such a small size, the swallow makes impressive migratory distances. Birds, as a rule, migrate by tribal flocks, which sometimes number several hundred thousand. The flight can last several months, so the migratory way of the swallow will always lie where there is a high level of flying insects. The time of arrival back depends on the severity of the weather.

Swallows are among the first to migrate in the fall. They gather on wires and bare branches, in wetlands or near lakes and rivers. On the road spend the night in the reeds. Families of swallows recognize each other's voices and stay together during the migration.

These birds are very tenacious and prolific, their number is several tens of millions of individuals and is kept at a stable level, so there is no threat to their existence at the moment. The only drawback is the expansion of the area of settlements and deforestation, but the swallows are perfectly cohabiting in towns and villages with people. Some people specially make their houses attractive to these birds, so that the swallows eat pests on their gardens.

Folk signs

There are many people's signs about the weather with which people connect the behavior of such a bird like a swallow. Their description is given below:

  • To the rain: if the birds swim and anxiously fly, then into the nest, then from the nest; If the flight occurs low over water or ground.
  • To dry weather - high flight.
  • Before the storm - the flight then up, then down.

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