The barn swallow belongs to the family of passerine birds. At the moment there are 75 species of swallows. The bodies of these birds are graceful, elongated shape. The head of the bird is small, however during feeding they are able to open the beak very wide.
Migrate depending on the season, nests almost throughout Russia, except for cold areas and the North.
Barn swallow (killer whale) is a bird of small size. Except Russia, common in Europe, Asia, America and Africa.
Has several distinctive features from other birds, namely:
- Long tail with a slit in the shape of a fork.
- Long curved wings.
- Has a small stature, body length is 14 to 19 inches.
- The wingspan of 31-34 cm.
- The weight of the bird is small, 17-20 grams.
On top of the body plumage has blue and black color, on the underside of the abdomen shades of beige. On his forehead and neck,the bird has white spots. The males look almost like females, however, females have less color contrast, and the tail is shorter.
Barn swallows live in almost all regions of the earth, except Australia and Antarctica. These birds easily adapt to different living conditions. All they need to be able to live in the region, is drinking water, food and a place to build nests. Places to create nests of swallows choose on the cliffs or under the roofs of buildings, where no rain falls. Often they can be seen in agriculture, where they nest from the roofs of barns.
During the flight of a swallow try to stay in open spaces, near water or along mountain ridges. Birds ‘ nests can be located up to the altitude of 3 thousand meters above sea level.
Swallows-killer whale is a migratory bird, the leading day way of life. Flights occur in mid-may, and in the second half of the month starts nesting and laying eggs. Females incubate the eggs for 12-13 days, after the birth of offspring juveniles within 20 days.
The Chicks eventually grow up and at the end of June fly out of the nest. Mass flights of swallows, the whales can be observed in September. Birds of this breed are very social, they gather in large groups, sit on wires, trees and hills. It breeds in large colonies within the colony, each pair provides protection of the territory near its nest.
They feed mainly on insects, namely:
- Dragonflies and beetles.
Insects are part of the 99% of the diet of swallows. The prey is caught in flight have a good skill feeding their Chicks on the fly. However, they sometimes descend to the ground, and they do it more often than other types of swallows. For the production of feed are often used close to the ground air layers. This method of production of food distinguished by a swallow from the city. Paved roads attract barn swallows, as their smooth, warmed from the sun’s surface usually accumulates group of insects, they are easy to catch. Swallows fly to the heated asphalt and wings scare insects, and then catch them on the fly.
Often birds of this breed suffer from lack of feed due to the windy weather and cold. In such situations, a flock of birds moves to the banks of ponds, where there are many thickets. The method of production of food have changed. They hold friendly group making short flights 2-3 meters along the coast, stopping at the stems of plants. They spread around the entire shore of the reservoir, sugawa insects from the stems of aquatic plants, and then catch them. This hunt lasts for several days. Swallows save power and do not seek to move somewhere without a clear need.
Reproduction barn swallows
The swallow is a monogamous bird. The couple formed in the early spring, immediately after the settlement of birds on a summer residence. Couples each year are formed anew, however, if any pair was a good conclusion offspring, they retain their Alliance for another two years.
Spreading his tail, the males trying to attract females, they emit a loud chirping with crisp trills. Males that remained unpaired, can join in some family and stay with them during the season. Such males do not help to feed the Chicks, however, they help to build and protect nests and lay eggs. Sometimes there are cases of copulation of males with a single female of the family, then formed a polygamous couple.
Breeding season barn swallows is from early may to August, but the time can vary depending on the habitat. The female in summer is twice able to bring offspring.
In the construction of the nest involves both parents, first the frame is created from the mud, and then it is upholstered with grass and feathers. One female leaves the clutch of 3-7 eggs. The eggs are white or brownish-red color, sometimes gray or purple specks. In incubation of eggs and involved a male and a female.
The incubation period for the birth of the Chicks is 13-15 days. Chicks fully naked and completely helpless. Parents feed their nestlings up to 400 times a day, while they protect the nest from predators and clean litter.
The Chicks remain in the parental nest for 20 days, until it learns to fly. If that’s the time to take the chick swallows-killer in hand, he tries to fly away, even if he does not know how.
After the baby learns to fly, the parents continue to help them during the week, feed, protect and show the way home. Chicks begin to fly after 2 weeks, they leave the parents and join other groups of birds. The following season they reach their sexual maturity, usually young birds are less young than older.
The barn swallow lives an average of four years, however, there is a documented case of longevity among these birds, he was eight years old, but this is an exception.