Swallow

Irish Name: Fáinleog
Scientific name: Hirundo rustica
Bird Family: Swallows & Martins
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Conservation status

Status

Common summer visitor throughout Ireland from mid-March to late-September.

Identification

A common and easy to see species. Adults are instantly recognisable by their glossy black wings and back, long tail streamers and contrasting white undersides. At close range, the red face-patch can be seen, as well as a narrow black breastband. In juveniles, the face-patch is a pale orange, while the tail streamers are appreciably shorter than on adults.

Voice

Very vocal. The song consisting of several musical twittering notes followed by a short buzz can be frequently heard. A “tswit-tswit” call is given when a bird of prey such as Sparrowhawk or Peregrine is spotted.

Diet

Swallows feed almost exclusively on insects (midges, flies) caught in flight.

Breeding

Constructs a bowl-shaped nest out of mud in suitable spots in barns and other buildings.

Wintering

Swallows spend the winter in southern Africa, migrating across the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert in spring and autumn.

Monitored by

Countryside Bird Survey and BirdTrack.

Similar Species

House Martin

Irish Name:
Gabhlán Binne
Scientific name:
Delichon urbicum
Bird Family:
Swallows & Martins

Sand Martin

Irish Name:
Gabhlán Gainimh
Scientific name:
Riparia riparia
Bird Family:
Swallows & Martins

Swift

Irish Name:
Gabhlán gaoithe
Scientific name:
Apus apus
Bird Family:
Swift