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Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica


This Barn Swallow was spotted at the largest body of water in Huntley Meadows Park during a photo walk."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.[4] 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.[2] 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 (or trying to chase intruders away from the nest).[4] The alarm calls include a sharp siflitt for predators like cats and a flitt-flitt for birds of prey like the Hobby.[6] This species is fairly quiet on the wintering grounds.[7] 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.[2] 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." Source Credit: Wikipedia


Huntley Meadows Park, a 1,425 acre wetland area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Related Resource:


Copyright © 2012 Louisa Craven. All rights reserved.

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Louisa 10 years ago

Thank you naross, Harsha Singh, mcaul6515, and Megan Gilbert for the kind comments!

naross 10 years ago

These are seriously good photos, Louisa. Beautiful clarity and DOF, and of course, the swallow is gorgeous. The detailed description is also a good read.

Harsha Singh
Harsha Singh 10 years ago

Lovely shot!

mcaul6515 10 years ago

Awesome action shot! :)

Megan Gilbert
Megan Gilbert 10 years ago

i love these birds!

Louisa 10 years ago

Thank you Mona!

Mona Pirih
Mona Pirih 10 years ago

Stunning photographs..

Louisa 10 years ago

Thank you Jared!

Jared Hersch
Jared Hersch 10 years ago

The Best Swallow pic I have ever seen, this is really great Louisa!!

Spotted by

Virginia, USA

Spotted on May 3, 2013
Submitted on May 13, 2013

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Hirundo Rustica Hirundo rustica Golondrina (Barn Swallow) Common Tern

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