Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica




Swallows (Hirundinidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White with brown markings

Number of Eggs:

4 - 7

Incubation Days:

13 - 17

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Inside barn or building or incliff ridges, under bridge or culvert.

Nest Material:

Clay or mud, dried stems, grasses, and straw with thick lining of horsehair, down, and feathers.





Barn Swallow: Medium-sized swallow with glittering blue-black upperparts and red-brown forehead. Breast is red-brown with dark band and belly is white to orange. Tail is deeply forked with long outer streamers. Female and juvenile are duller and have shorter tail streamers.

Range and Habitat

Barn Swallow: Breeds from southern Alaska east across Canada to Newfoundland and south throughout most of the U.S. and into northern Mexico; spends winters in the tropics from southern Mexico to areas south and in Eurasia. Preferred habitats include agricultural lands, suburban areas, marshes, and lakeshores.

Breeding and Nesting

Barn Swallow: Four to seven brown marked, white eggs are laid in a solid cup of mud reinforced with grass, lined with feathers and soft plant material, and built under or on a rafter in a building or sheltered ledge. Incubation ranges from 13 to 17 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Barn Swallow: Diet includes insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, beetles, and moths. Barn swallows are quite opportunistic, and are often found following tractors engaged in plowing or mowing to take advantage of disturbed insects.


Barn Swallow: Song consists of constant, liquid twittering and chattering.

Similar Species

Barn Swallow: Cliff Swallow has blue-black upperparts and squared tail. Cave Swallow has blue-black upperparts, brown rump, and squared tail.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X