Killer Whale: description and photo


The quick answer: an average of 4-5 years.

Swallows, which we so often meet, are called swallows, or swallows. It is a small migratory bird that lives on most continents. It differs primarily in its long tail with a cut in the form of a fork.

Swallows easily adapt to the environment in which they are located, allowing them to survive in difficult situations. They settle near the water. Often use the old, abandoned buildings, where they build their nests.

The birds arrive in mid-May and immediately begin to look for a place to build a nest, where eggs will then be laid. The swallow incubates the eggs for about 12-13 days, after which another three weeks feeds the chicks. The latter leave their nest by the end of June. Fly takes place in September - the birds fly to Africa or Asia.

Swallows use insects as food. These include flies, various beetles, dragonflies, grasshoppers, etc. Birds catch their prey on the fly.

As for life expectancy, in this regard, the swallows have nothing to boast - the average life expectancy is about 4-5 years, although there is evidence that some birds lived for 8 or even 9 years.


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    origin of name

    For many novice ornithologists, the killer whale is of interest. Why is this little bird called that? The swallow got its second name because of the long and thin steering feathers. They are called "braids". By the same principle one more bird got its name - killer whales.

    External features

    Killer whale size is much smaller than the sparrow - the length of its body is only fifteen centimeters, and the weight does not exceed twenty grams. The bird’s upper body is black, its plumage has a faint metallic luster. The lower feathers are white-pink or pale beige. The neck and forehead are red-brown. The tip of the tail is bifurcated and it is completed by two narrow and long extreme feathers (braids).

    There is practically no sex difference between males and females, except that the males have slightly longer males. Young birds have a paler color, and they do not have braids.

    The Killer Whale, whose photo you can see in this article, has a rather loud and loud voice. The singing of males is heard before departure for wintering and during the autumn migration. Males sing their songs while sitting on wires or in the air. Ornithologists have identified several peaks of increasing the intensity of singing. As a rule, they coincide with the laying of eggs during two cycles of reproduction and during the collection of autumn flocks. At this time, the song of the swallows, apparently, is a voice signal that unites broods and members of the pack.

    Particularly beautiful are the village swallows (killer whales) in the quiet and warm twilight. At this time, they are particularly lively. Song by song males sing in whole groups. It is only, at first glance, the prolonged chirping of these birds seems vague and continuous. In reality, the killer whale sings a song consisting of distinct periods. Each of them ends with a short and dry crack. Then follows a short thin whistle - and the bird begins a new song.

    Periodically, the pack flies away as if on cue, but after a while in small groups returns to the same place to rest, clean the feathers, sing their sonorous songs, and then fly together again into the sky. Such takeoffs are accompanied by alarming sounds - "weavers". During nesting, the same sound can be heard when parents are disturbed at the nest.

    Killer Whale Nesting

    These birds nest in rural areas of Northern Europe and North America, the Middle East and Asia, Japan and North Africa, and also Southern China. Killer whale winters in Indonesia, Micronesia, South Asia. Usually they build their nests in places with enough feed. Another prerequisite is the availability of a water source.

    Most often they build nests in various outbuildings: in attics, in baths, in barns, under sheds.


    Killer whales are monogamous, monogamous birds. Married couples are formed in the spring, after returning from wintering. Every year, pairs are formed in a new way, however, there are cases when, after a successful brood, they retain cohabitation for several years.

    Males attract females, spreading their tails and making friable trills. Males left without a pair, often join the formed "family" and remain with them throughout the season. Although they do not feed the chicks, they are actively involved in the construction and protection of the nest, which has the shape of a bowl. Birds build it from wet clay and soft grasses. It is usually mounted under a stone or canopy.

    The mating season lasts from May until the end of August. Both parents build a nest for future offspring. During the season there are usually two broods. The female lays in the first clutch from four to seven eggs, in the second - from three to six. The eggs are white with brownish, purple or gray specks. Both parents incubate the clutch.

    The incubation period lasts about fifteen days. Nestlings hatch completely naked and helpless. Parents feed babies up to 400 times a day, and before giving the chick an insect, the swallows roll it into a tight ball. The offspring is in the nest twenty days. After this period, young birds must learn to fly.

    In late September, you can observe a mass departure of chicks. Young birds that have become independent form large flocks and fly in search of food along the shores of lakes and marshes, along riverine meadows. In September, in individual flocks, the number of swallows increases to a thousand, and sometimes more. At this time, the flight to the wintering grounds begins.

    Killer whale feed catches in the air. Flying over open places or over the forest, near populated areas, sometimes around the grazing animals, these birds catch various insects. Sometimes they manage to grab insects sitting on the walls of buildings or grass, they rarely collect food from the ground.

    Since the swallow feeds in the literal sense of the word on the fly, it is believed that the behavior of these birds can be judged on what kind of weather is expected in the near future. However, this is not quite true. Barn Swallows catch insects, always flying at low altitudes. This swifts and city swallows hunt at high altitude, and in the evening, when insects fly away, they descend below. In any case, the behavior of the swallows can not be judged on the approaching rain.

    Preservation of the form

    Killer whales are birds that spend most of their lives in the air. That is why birds are very dependent on climatic conditions. With prolonged bad weather, they die in huge quantities. For example, ornithologists are well aware of the incident that occurred in Switzerland (1974). Then hundreds of thousands of swallows died due to the lack of summer weather for a long time.

    Not indifferent residents of the country tried their best to save the birds - they collected half-dead birds and took them to the warm Mediterranean countries by transport. Unfortunately, country swallows are dying not only because of bad weather. In Italy, hunting is allowed on them.

    Undoubtedly, the global human economic activity affects negatively the number of the species. Swallow village, as can be seen from its name, does not tolerate concrete and asphalt. The reduction of green land, rivers and ponds leads to a decrease in the number of these birds. And this process goes catastrophically fast.

    In many European countries, in order to attract the swallows, to preserve the species, clay, earth and manure are poured into special containers so that birds do not lack construction material for nests.

    Barn Swallow: description

    Interesting information. Swallow can be called one of the cutest migratory birds. The size of this herald of spring is quite small, its body length is 15–20 cm, the span of its long sharp wings is 30–35 cm. The small creation weighs only 18–20 g. It is easy to recognize the swallow by the long tail, which has a deep incision in the shape of a fork.

    The plumage of the bird is blue - black above, below - pale beige. On the forehead and front of the neck, the barn swallow has light spots with a brown tint. It is possible to distinguish a female from a male by the tail, in the “girl” it is slightly shorter than that of the “boy”. The color of the male is more saturated, the plumage of females is less contrasting.


    The habitat of a small bird is quite large. Bird swallows are found in North Africa, North America, Europe and Asia. These lovely creatures winter in South America, Africa and Asia.

    One can judge already by the very name of the bird that the swallow prefers to build its village nest in the countryside. You can see these swallow-shaped buildings on the walls of residential and business premises both in villages and in small towns. The birds feel much more comfortable in quieter places. Most often, their nests are observed in village stables or sheds, whereas on large farms these birds do not live.

    As mentioned earlier, people have long believed that the swallows bring happiness to the house, therefore, in order to attract these birds to their homestead, the owners arrange special wooden structures with corners suitable for nesting. It helps to keep a population of small and useful creatures.


    Barn Swallow is a diurnal. This is a migratory bird that arrives from wintering in the middle of May. Before the beginning of June, nimble feathered creatures are busy building nests; after settling housing problems, the birds immediately lay eggs and incubate. They fly off to warm countries in September.

    The village swallows live in large flocks, they love to sit in groups on the wires and loudly chirp. Their song ends with a pleasant trill. They are much more likely than other swallow species to sit on the ground. Birds nest in large colonies, each pair of birds jealously protects and defends the territory near its nest.

    What swallow feeds on

    The diet of this little creature consists mainly of flying insects. This menu includes mosquitoes, flies and butterflies. When it is cool or raining outside, the insects hide and the barn swallow changes flying insects for crawling spiders and caterpillars. Everyone knows that before the rain these birds fly very low over the water, but do we all know that they do this because in bad weather the insects living near the surface of the water begin to move actively, thus giving the birds an opportunity labor to get food.

    When hungry chicks squeak in the nest, a pair of swallows must work from morning to night to feed the voracious young. Birds - parents bring insects to their babies in their esophagus; during the day, five chicks will need about four hundred servings.


    Barn Swallow eats flying insects. These are different types of flies: hummers, indoor flies, as well as mosquitoes and butterflies. During cold and rainy weather, the swallows find little food, so they need more time to get enough. It is known that in bad weather swallows fly low over water - this is because birds catch insects at this time, which live near the surface of the water and become active in bad weather. According to another version, the humid air of the wings of insects, and they are forced to fly lower.

    In case of lack of food, the swallow replenishes its diet with caterpillars and spiders. The swallow that feeds the chicks brings into the nest many insects that are kept in the esophagus. During the day, one parent pair of village swallows should bring to the nest, where they are waited for by 5 hungry chicks, approximately 400 such portions.


    The swallow is a migratory bird, so in the fall it leaves nesting sites and flies south. In the temperate climate in winter, this bird would not find enough flying insects - its main food. Swallow sheds after returning from wintering grounds. This is different from most other migratory birds, molting in which occurs immediately after nesting. Before the autumn flights, the swallows of the country unite in large flocks, which can number several hundred and sometimes thousands of birds. It happens that sometimes the birds are forced to sleep right in the thickets of reeds or on the wires of power lines.


    The barn swallow, with the exception of the nesting period, leads a collective lifestyle. During the breeding season, they live in pairs. Currently, the couple is guarding its small area around the nest. Often, several pairs nest under the same roof of a barn or a current. The mating season for swallows begins in May. During the construction of the nest, both birds collect small lumps of earth and moisten them with saliva. From this material, the female forms a nest in the form of a cup, which is equipped by both birds. Nestlings hatch out in 13-18 days. Food for them produces both female and male. In auspicious year, the swallows can nest twice or even thrice.


    The swallow is easily recognizable by its bright, brilliant, blue-steel tail with purple tint and the characteristic shape of the tail with a deep slit and long tail feathers on the sides. In the summer, looking under the roof of the barn, you can almost always see a characteristic, bowl-like nest of this bird stuck to the ceiling. In the autumn, swallows can be observed to gather in large flocks before leaving for wintering grounds.


    • Only recently, thanks to the banding of birds, it was confirmed that the swallows that spend the summer in Central Europe fly to South Africa for wintering.
    • During their stay at wintering grounds (in Africa), the country swallows feed not only on flying insects, but also on ants.
    • The song of the swallow consists of chirping and iridescent tones, and ends with a whistle, reminiscent of the sound of clocks that turn on. Barn Swallows sing in flight and during rest, sitting on roofs and telephone wires.
    • It is believed that the famous saying "one swallow does not make spring" appeared in ancient Greece.
    • The results of the chariot race in ancient Rome were announced in Volterra, which is located 200 km from Rome, in this way: the swallows were tied to the winner’s colors at their feet and released.


    Male: forehead and throat reddish-reddish, long forked tail. The back is blue-steel color with a purple tint, on the tail plumage white spots. The belly and chest are white.

    Female: the feathers on the inside of the tail are shorter and the plumage is less bright.

    Eggs: the female lays 3-6 eggs. The eggs are white with gray and brownish-red specks and spots.

    - Habitat of the swallow


    In summer, this migratory bird lives almost throughout Europe and in many places in the northern hemisphere. In the winter lives in warm regions of South Africa. Nests in North America, North Africa and Asia.


    The barn swallow has mastered the art of survival and holds close to people. In danger is the source of its food - flying insects.

    Barn Swallow Nest (Hirundo rustica). Video (00:00:25)

    Barn Swallow Nest (Killer Whales, Hirundo rustica). Feeding chicks. Neighborhood of the village Novodmitrievskaya, Krasnodar region. This swallow has chosen to build a nest unusual place: the roof of a bus stop. It was easy to get here, but the kids grew up safely - no one offended them.

    Village and city swallows: interesting facts

    A related species of barn swallow is the City Swallow, these are the most common species of these migratory birds. Many interesting facts are known about their lives:

    1. The song of the swallow consists of ringing “viv - vit”, but when the birds notice the danger, they alarmingly signal to all members of the huge flock, warning about this with a loud “swing”.
    2. It happens that the chicks from the last brood do not have time to get stronger and are not able to fly along with the flock to warm countries with the onset of cold weather. In this case, the swallows - parents do not abandon their weak babies and remain with them until they can fly for the winter.
    3. While hibernating in Africa, the swallows feed on ants; this variety is very popular in the usual menu of flying insects.
    4. More recently, scientists have learned, thanks to the ringing of the swallows, that after a summer period in Central Europe, these birds are sent to winter in South Africa.
    5. During long flights to the warm edges of the swallow, unfortunately, often die from exhaustion and starvation.
    6. Barn Swallow is unable to live without singing.She sings when she searches for food in flight, sings when rocking, sits on the wires and sings when she is just resting.
    7. When in ancient Rome, after the chariot races were announced, the hero took the first place, then the swallows were tied to the feet of the winner and the bird was released into the sky as a symbol of victory and free flight.


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