Facts About Barn Swallows

Learn more about friendly Barn Swallows.

Barn Swallows are beautiful birds with a dark blue back, a reddish throat and a buff colored belly. Perhaps their most outstanding feature is their long, forked tail. Barn Swallows are found across the U.S. in spring and summer, so the chances are good that you have seen these birds. If you haven’t, you might visit some areas where they are likely to be found.When you do see them, it will often be in the air, so look for the distinctive,  forked tail.

Barn Swallows get their name, of course, because of their frequent habit of nesting in barns. They construct a deep nest primarily of mud and lined with feathers on top of a beam or other projection. But they will also nest in caves, under bridges, in mine shafts and other sheltered locations. Barn Swallows are insect-eaters that catch their prey while on the wing. They can even drink, while they’re flying and often skim the water to pick up floating insects. Happy Birding!

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  • sherry June 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I had 4 barn swallow today flying around me today, do they hurt people and why were they flying around so much when i was on my rider cutting grass.

  • David Nichols July 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Folks, I’m an associate professor teaching anatomy to medical students at Creighton University Medical School in Omaha, Nebraska. There is currently a battle going on between those who want barn swallows nesting on our loading dock and those who don’t (too messy/unsanitary). I’m in the “want them” faction . I’m wondering if you have any information about how many insects a pair of swallows and their chicks eat, especially if those insects are on the average person’s “bad bug” list. Mosquitos top the list as the Missouri bottom lands are under water this year and the current crop is daunting. Any other ammunition you would have might also be helpful as the birds are gathering mud for one last nesting attempt. Cheers, David Nichols