Swallow | Facts & Information

# Swallow | Facts & Information

Swallow | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Swallow

Swallows (family Hirundinidae) are among the birds considered harbingers of spring. Year after year, their arrival gives us a real delight, and the way they build their nests with such painstaking work is amazing.

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These little architects are also real Acrobats of flight and unsurpassed insect hunters.

Of all the Migratory Birds, The Swallow is the best known. In fact, it is the first bird that made people realize this strange phenomenon of migration. For a long time, it was believed that swallows spend the winter hidden under the ground or even under water!

Only towards the end of the eighteenth century, the famous naturalist Buffon showed that these theories are wrong and that swallows probably spend the winter in warmer countries. Some naturalists, to verify this, had the idea of tying colored threads of thread to the legs of some of these birds, in order to be able to follow their route from one country to another.

It was possible to map the migrations. For example, the swallow crosses huge distances: from Europe it crosses in flight the Mediterranean Sea, to reach North Africa.

It continues its flight south, crossing the Sahara desert to finally reach the region where it winters and where, obviously, it is warm and there is plenty of food. These birds travel distances of up to 10,000 km.

Many of them fall, exhausted, during migration, into the water of the Mediterranean Sea and drown. Sometimes they let themselves fly on the deck of a ship to rest. It is a test of endurance that the brave fliers pass every year, returning every time to Europe, not only to the same regions from where they left, but even to the same nests!

Swallow Food

The main reason they migrate is to search for food. In winter, the flying insects that swallows consume are completely absent from Europe, but in Africa they are found in abundance.

The swallow chooses its habitat (that is, the place where it lives) depending on the presence of flying insects with which it feeds (flies, dragonflies, flying ants and others).

The little bird catches insects on the fly (sometimes it can fly at very high speed, suddenly changing its direction in the air). It can reach an age of up to 8-10 years, and the speed with which it flies reaches 160 km/hour.

Features Swallow

Swallows belong to the family Hirundinidae and are small birds, ranging in size from 13 to 20 centimeters. They live in the northern hemisphere, in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.

The European ones are migratory birds, which "inhabit" this continent from spring to autumn.

It is an unsurpassed hunt, but it needs wide, open spaces for these performances. Therefore, it prefers Plains and even parks in big cities to hunt, but we do not meet it in forests, where the thickets of trees do not offer enough space.

They also prefer the proximity of waters or even swamps, for two reasons. First of all, because a lot of insects fly around here – rich food for the swallow. Then, because she needs the soft soil, the clay and the shore that is plentiful in such areas, for the construction of the nest.

The best known is hirundo rustica, the common swallow, also called the domestic swallow. This is a bird with a black-blue back and head, a white breast and a reddish goiter.

It has a very elegant silhouette, and the tail is finished with two longer and thin feathers – the famous V-shaped "dovetail". it is the most famous swallow, widespread in North America, Europe and Asia, as well as in North Africa.

We find it practically in all relief areas, except in the high mountains.

Swallow Breeding

The nest is located in the most diverse places, especially under the stresses of houses, but also in attics, garages, even inside houses (when there is a permanent opening to the outside). The nest is built of pebbles joined together with the shore and generally has a semicircular shape with an opening where the walkways enter and exit.

It is lined with straw and fluff, to be as comfortable as possible. An incredible case, but true, happened when a swallow flew on the back of a cat, plucking with its beak some strands of soft fur, to lining its nest!

The construction of this shelter takes about a week. Swallow nests were found in the strangest places: in an abandoned tractor cabin, in lamps hanging in the ceiling of stables, etc.

The swallow lays 3 to 6 eggs, from which the chicks hatch. They are then fed with insects, sometimes even a dragonfly larger than them! It was calculated that for feeding all the chicks, a swallow gets to make no less than 400 flights a day!

After the chicks have grown up, they are no longer fed by their parents, in order to get them out of the nest and thus learn to fly.

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Swallow | Facts & InformationSwallow | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Swallow