Cliff Swallow

Petrochelidon pyrrhonota

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Swallows (Hirundinidae)

Code 4

CLSW

Code 6

PETPYR

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Cliff Swallow breeds in a variety of open and forested habitats in much of Canada, the United States of America (except for the southeastern states and parts of the southwest), and Mexico. It migrates to and spends the winter in a wide variety of habitats in South America. The Cliff Swallow has a huge breeding range and is believed to have a very large population. Although populations of this species are difficult to monitor, it may be increasing and has been given a conservation rating of Least Concern by the IUCN.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Cliff Swallow: Small, stocky swallow, dark blue-gray upperparts, pale orange-brown rump, buff underparts. Forehead is white or buff while throat, sides of face are orange-brown. Crown is blue-black, bill is short and black. Tail is dark and squared. Legs and feet are gray. Catches insects in flight.

 

Range and Habitat

Cliff Swallow: This species breeds throughout North America from subarctic Alaska, Ontario, and Nova Scotia southward throughout most of U.S., with the exception of the southeastern states, and into Mexico. They spend winters in the tropics. Its preferred habitats include open country near buildings or cliffs, lakeshores, and marshes.

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Cliff Swallow SONGS AND CALLS

Cliff Swallow A1

Most common call is a repeated "churr".

Cliff Swallow A2

Twitter-squeak song is used during courtship and nest building.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"churr", "zarp"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Females are known to lay eggs in its own nest and then carry one of the eggs in its bill and put it in another female's nest.
  • The Cliff Swallow was first described in 1817 by Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, a French ornithologist.
  • When young leave their nests they congregate in large groups called creches. A pair of swallows can find its own young in the creche primarily by voice.
  • A group of swallows has many collective nouns, including a "gulp", "herd", "kettle", "richness", and "sord" of swallows.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X