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 (0.8–2.8 in) of elongated outer tail feathers. It has a wingspan of 32–34.5 cm (12.6–13.6 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 more pale. 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. Calls include witt or witt-witt and a loud splee-plink when excited. The alarm calls include a sharp siflitt for predators like cats and a flitt-flitt for birds of prey like the Hobby. This species is fairly quiet on the wintering grounds. The distinctive combination of a red face and blue breast band render the adult Barn Swallow easy to distinguish from the African Hirundo species and from the Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) with which its range overlaps in Australasia. In Africa the short tail streamers of the juvenile Barn Swallow invite confusion with juvenile Red-chested Swallow (Hirundo lucida), but the latter has a narrower breast band and more white in the tail. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barn_Swallo...
Huntley Meadows Park, a 1,425 acre wetland area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Related Resource: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/huntl...............
Copyright © 2012 Louisa Craven. All rights reserved
Lat: 38.76, Long: -77.10
Spotted on Jun 28, 2012
Submitted on Jul 5, 2012
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