Description ADULT MALE Has blue cap, nape, and back, with red forehead and throat. Blue breast band separates throat from buffy orange underparts, including underwing coverts. Note the long, deeply forked tail. ADULT FEMALE Similar, but has a shorter tail and much paler, buffy white underparts. JUVENILE Similar to adult female, but with very short tail streamers and orange-buff (not red) throat and forehead.
Dimensions Length: 5 3/4-7 3/4" (15-20 cm)
Habitat Common and widespread summer visitor (mainly Mar-Sep) to open country, including farmland and grassland. Winters mainly in South America.
Observation Tips Easy to see.
Range Southeast, Alaska, California, Eastern Canada, Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Great Lakes, Northwest, Western Canada, Plains, New England, Texas, Rocky Mountains, Southwest
Voice Song is a series of twittering warbles; calls include a sharp che-viit.
Discussion Familiar and colorful swallow. Flight is dashing and varied as it pursues flying insects; often feeds low over ground or water. Builds mud nest, sometimes in cave or on cliff ledge, but frequently on ledge in barn or outbuilding. Sexes are separable.
Migration Info The extensive winter range of this species -- from central Mexico to the southern tip of South America -- is somewhat misleading; the bulk of the North American population is believed to winter in the lowlands of eastern South America. Determining the actual whereabouts of any population of Barn Swallows in winter is complicated by several factors: These birds are extremely nomadic, they join huge roosting aggregations, and at any time in nearly any season of the year, one population or another is migrating. During spring migration thousands of these birds may aggregate near bodies of water, particularly during periods of inclement weather.