Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica, Nanpu, Hebei, China, October. Barn Swallow breeds across northern Eurasia and northern North America, wintering in Africa, south and Southeast Asia, northern Australia, and most of tropical and subtropical America. Breeds throughout China except emptiest western deserts. Noted on passage throughout China, and resident on northern slopes of Himalaya in Tibet and in Yunnan, Guangxi, and Hainan. (Craig Brelsford)
Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow H. r. gutturalis collecting mud for nest, Yangkou (32.560629, 121.038665), Jiangsu, China, early May. Barn Swallow makes its familiar cup nest using mud pellets and dry fibers. (Craig Brelsford)
Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow H. r. gutturalis, detail on head and parts of upper- and underparts, Yangkou (32.560629, 121.038665), Jiangsu, early May. In China, gutturalis is most widespread ssp., breeding throughout country except emptiest western deserts, the northwest (where rustica breeds), and Heilongjiang (mandschurica). The creamy white underparts, partly visible here, of gutturalis distinguish it from H. r. tytleri, in China a commonly recorded passage migrant that has brick-orange underparts, and mandschurica, which has paler ocher underparts than tytleri. All races of Barn Swallow distinguished from Pacific Swallow H. tahitica by blue-black breastband, absent in H. tahitica. (Craig Brelsford)
Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow feeding close to ground, Nanpu, Hebei, October. Barn Swallow specializes in low-level flight, writes Turner: ‘It is at this height that its preferred prey of large flies are to be found’ (2004, p. 617). The long wings, and in particular the low ratio of body weight to wing area, give Barn Swallow ‘exceptional manoeuvrability at low speeds’ (2004, p. 604). (Craig Brelsford)


Turner, A.K. (2004). Family Hirundinidae (Swallows and Martins). Pp. 604, 617 in del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Christie, D.A. eds. (2004). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 9. Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

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