Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

A small, 7.5" (19cm) bird, the Barn Swallow's outstanding feature is its long outer tail feathers, shaped like a big V, much longer than a Swift's. Males & females are similarly coloured, with dark chestnut foreheads and the rest of the upperparts a dark, glossy blue. Chins and throats are dark chestnut, with a glossy blue breast band. The rest of the underparts are white.

Unlike Swifts, Barn Swallows can perch and do so from time to time during the day. However, they do not have strong legs and when on the ground, they waddle, like miniature Ducks.

Insects are hawked, on the wing.

A common palaeartic migrant, seen all over Kenya between September to May. It is a well known bird in the Northern Hemisphere, as "bringing Spring", where it builds mud nests under overhangs or cavities, in the same place, year after year.

Extra Facts
The Barn Swallow spends most of the day in the air, scooping insects into its wide gape, which is surrounded by bristles. They work in flocks and rise & perch together on the ground, a wire or bush.

Photographed in Nairobi National Park & Olara Orok Conservancy.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:barn swallow, bird, kenya, swallow, wildlife

Barn Swallows ~ Flying

Two barn swallows, about to fly.

Barn Swallow ~ Perched

Barn Swallow, perched on old Acacia branch.

Barn Swallow ~ Perched In Sun

A Barn Swallow, perched in direct sun, showing metallic blue colours.

Barn Swallow ~ On Old Tree

A Barn Swallow, perched on top of an old tree stump.