We are all pleased to find this bird outside our window, because when the swallows arrive, spring comes. These are migratory birds with long pointed wings and streamlined bodies. Due to this body shape, their flight is very fast. They are often seen above the fields, gardens, lakes, where insects are abundant. They are recognized by the forked tail. There is a legend which says that this bird helped people to steal fire from the gods, an angry god threw burning coal into it, which, having hit the middle of its tail, burned it.
The swallows have a metallic blue-black color, the breast and belly are light gray, with redhead on the forehead of the young, and in adults the breast and forehead are white. They have a long forked tail with a number of white spots on individual feathers. The wings of the swallow are pointed, have external steering feathers (streamers), in males they are slightly shorter than those of the female.
The size of an adult male is 17-19 cm in length, including the tail 2-7 cm. The wingspan is 32-34.5 cm, the bird takes 5.3 beats per minute in the air, and weighs 16-22 g. If the tail is shorter, it means that the female is a swallow. The description of the bird is very similar to a swift, and they are often confused. The head is flattened with a short beak. In adults, molting occurs once a year approximately from August to March.
Swallows (and other small passerine) often have damage to feathers on the wings and tails in the form of small holes, such openings are created by parasites - bird lice and ticks. Also the enemies of these little birds are bats and birds of prey.
This bird is very widespread, it can be found throughout the world, with the exception of the northern regions. The flight of a swallow is not fast, usually the speed is 5-10 km / h at a height of 7-9 meters above the ground or water. At the same time she is very maneuverable, as she needs to catch insects in the air. In flight above the water can simultaneously swim, diving into the water.
Insectivorous swallows. In the air during the flight, they catch insects with their wide-open beaks. In bad weather, birds can eat some berries, seeds and dead insects. Long-term precipitation can create problems in the search for food, leading to the fact that the swallow chicks are dying. Flying over the water, the birds immerse their beaks in the water and scoop moisture to drink.
Spring swallows arrive around April, they build nests of mud and plant fibers on beams, under roofs of houses or on ledges of rocks, inside they cover them with straw and down. Existing nests are frequently updated and reused for almost 50 years. The time from the beginning of the construction of the nest to the departure of young people is from 44 to 58 days. Due to too fast construction or humidity, the nests may collapse or fall.
To build a house, the birds collect dirt from the edges of ponds, puddles and ditches, for complete construction you will need to fly from a puddle to the nest about 1000 times. Collecting mud and building nests - social activities for rock swallows. On the surface of the pools there are numerous small holes from their beaks.
There are many folk signs about the weather with which people associate the behavior of such a bird as a swallow. Their description is given below:
- To the rain: if the birds are swimming and anxiously flying, then to the nest, then from the nest, if the flight takes place low above water or land.
- To dry weather - high flight.
- Before the storm - flight up and down.
What swallows eat
Since the swallow spends almost all the time in flight, it feeds on the fly. Soaring in the air with an open beak, birds catch the midge and insects, which are the main food. Swallows also prefer bugs, grasshoppers, candles and dragonflies.
In flight, the birds open their mouth, catching various insects, which they swallow after filling the mouth. Accelerated digestion of birds does not allow them to escape from the hunt.
Chicks after birth can not fly until 2 weeks of age. At first, the swallows feed their offspring by the insects caught by their bed into the mouth of the chicks, which they swallow on their own.
The need for water is repaid due to the droplets of rain collected by the open beak, and the fumes. The swallows living near water bodies or flying near them can capture small portions of water with their beak.
Swallow. Swallows collect materials for building nests.
External features of the swallows
Many birds of the same species differ significantly from each other depending on the region of their habitat. Swallows, on the contrary, have a sufficient number of similarities:
- small beak extended to the base
- large oral cavity
- wings are narrow and long, reaching 32-35 cm in scope,
- the refined body with a total length of 9-24 cm. is distinguished by a broad breast,
- low pads, preventing movement on a solid surface,
- dense plumage is observed throughout the body,
- the color of the back is different from the other parts and is distinguished by a steel shimmer,
- regardless of age and gender, birds have the same color,
- in weight birds reach 12-65 grams.
But at first glance, the identity of the birds, everything is different.
Swallows settling in the burrows of earthen cliffs are called coastalswallows. These individuals are smaller in size than their brethren, and have brown plumage with the presence of a distinctive gray color located along the breast and abdomen.
UrbanswallowsThey are brighter in color and have a division into a dark upper part of the body and a white plumage on the lower and inner side.
Swallows live in rural areas, supplementing their diet with butterflies and mosquitoes. Rusticswallows a little more, but their body is more subtle and elegant. A distinctive feature of this species is the presence of a red mark on the forehead and neck.
Swallows are divided into several categories:
- Migratory, those that when approaching the cold season, fly to the warm edges. After winter, the swallows return to their nests.
- Sedentary swallows live in warm countries, where the climate allows birds to live all year round, not flying to warm countries for a while.
This division allows, seen in a particular region, a bird to be classified as migratory or settled. You can meet the swallows on the territory of America, Europe and Asia. Northeastern Africa is also suitable for swallows.
Swallow in flight. Swallow, possibly young or of a different kind. Swallow in flight. Swallow in flight. Swallows on the wires.