Our Beautiful World
Barn swallows are small birds. They range in size from 14.6 to 19.9 cm long, with a wingspan of 31.8 to 34.3 cm.
They weigh between 17 and 20 g. Barn swallows are metallic blue-black above and pale beige below.
They have light brown on their throat and forehead, and have a long, deeply-forked tail. Males and females are similar
in appearance, though females tend to be less vibrantly colored and have shorter outer tail-streamers.
Barn swallows are very adaptable birds and can nest anywhere with open areas for foraging, a water source,
and a sheltered ledge. They seek out open habitats of all types, including agricultural areas, and are commonly found in barns
or other outbuildings. They will also build nests under bridges, the eaves of old houses, and boat docks, as well as in rock caves
and even on slow-moving trains.
Barn swallows are native in all the biogeographic regions except Australia and Antarctica. The breeding range of barn
swallows includes North America, northern Europe, northcentral Asia, northern Africa, the Middle East, southern China, and Japan. They winter in South America, South Asia, Indonesia, and Micronesia.
Barn swallows usually breed between May and August, but this varies greatly with location. They usually raise two broods
of chicks each summer. Both birds of a pair make the nest. They build the shell of mud, and line it with grass and feathers.
The female lays 3 to 7 eggs (average 5).
Barn swallows are insectivores. Flies, grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, beetles, moths and other flying insects make up 99 %
of their diet. They catch most of their prey while in flight, and are able to feed their young at the nest while flying.
Barn swallows forage opportunistically. They have been observed
following tractors and plows, catching the insects that