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Interesting facts about the swallow

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We found 21 interesting facts about swallows

hirundo rustica

It is one of the most numerous breeding birds in Poland, much more common than the swallow. Unlike house swallows, barn owls build nests inside buildings and fiercely defend them from intruders. Most often they choose outbuildings and sheds, hence their English name - barn swallow.


The barn swallow is a bird from the swallow family.

This family includes about 90 species of birds from 19 genera. There are eight subspecies of swallows, each inhabiting different regions of the world.


Inhabits all continents except Antarctica.

The breeding grounds of barn swallows are located in the northern hemisphere, and the wintering areas are around the equator and in the southern hemisphere. In Australia, it winters only in areas of the northern coast of the continent.


They willingly live inside buildings, especially agricultural ones, where a large number of insects live, which constitute their food.

They prefer flat areas, although they can also be found in the mountains, at altitudes up to 1000 m above sea level. fields, preferably with a pond nearby.


It is a small, slender bird with a body length of 17 to 19 cm.

The wingspan is from 32 to 34.5 cm, weight is from 16 to 22 g. Females and males are very similar, they can be distinguished by the fact that the rectangles of females are slightly shorter. 

Thus, barn swallows are much larger than their fellow swallows.


The color of the upper body is steel blue with a whitish belly. The head has a rusty-red forehead and throat, separated from the belly by a blue-steel stripe.

The beak and legs of these birds are black and are characterized by elongated rectangles arranged in a characteristic U-shape.


The diet of swallows consists of insects, which they skillfully catch during flight.

The basis of its diet consists of hymenoptera, beetles and flies. Often, in search of food, they go to damp places and bodies of water, where the number of these insects is greater.

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Males sing more often than females.

They do this to defend their territory or to search for a mate between April and August. The singing of females is shorter and occurs only at the beginning of the breeding season.


These are migratory birds; during the breeding season they fly north, covering a distance of up to ten thousand kilometers.

Refunds begin in early March and can sometimes end disastrously. If they return to their breeding grounds in the winter, they may die due to a lack of insects on which they feed.


The breeding season of these swallows begins in May and lasts until July.

They prefer buildings as nesting sites, but, unlike swallows, they build nests inside. They usually produce two broods per year.


Nests are built from clay and clay, mixed and layered.

Like home marinas, they build them under a flat surface, such as a roof or eaves. The nest is lined with any available soft material, such as grass, hair, feathers or wool. Like house swallows, they can build nests in colonies.


Unlike swallows, the entrance to a swallow's nest has a fairly large hole.

This makes it easier for uninvited guests to access the nest, which is why swallows are the only species of European swallow that has fallen victim to cuckoo parasitism.


They mate for life and, once paired, begin to build a nest.

However, this does not prevent them from interbreeding with other individuals of their species. Therefore, they can be considered social monogamists and reproductive polygamists.


Male swallows are very territorial and aggressively defend the nest. They fiercely defend it even from cats, which they approach at short distances in an attempt to drive them away.

Male European swallows limit themselves exclusively to nest defense, while North American populations spend another 25% of their time incubating eggs.


In a clutch, the female can lay from two to seven eggs.

Swallow eggs are white with rusty specks, measuring 20 x 14 mm and weighing about 2 g. The chicks hatch after 14 - 19 days and leave the nest after another 18 - 23 days. After leaving the nest, they feed on their parents for about a week.


It happens that young animals from the first brood help their parents feed the brothers and sisters from the second brood.


The average lifespan of swallows does not exceed five years.

However, there were individuals who lived up to eleven, or even fifteen years.


It happens that swallows interbreed with swallows.

Among all passerines, this is one of the most common interspecific crosses. In North America and the Caribbean they also interbreed with cave swallows and red-necked swallows.


Most often they fall prey to birds of prey, but their nimble flight often saves their lives.

In India and on the Indochina peninsula, they are also successfully hunted by large-winged bats.


The global population of swallows is estimated to be between 290 and 487 million.

The number of swallows in Poland is estimated to be between 3,5 and 4,5 million adult birds.


In African countries, these birds are hunted for culinary purposes.

This is one of the reasons for the decrease in their numbers.


It is not an endangered species, but it is strictly protected in Poland.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the swallow as a species of Least Concern.

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