Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow
(Hirundo rustica)

Order:  Passeriformes
Family:  Hirundinidae

Photo © David Blevins

Barn Swallow Information

Length:  6 - 7.75"

Habitat:  Open or semi-open habitat such as agricultural lands, marshes, lakes, fields, and residential areas. Favors habitat near water.

Diet:  Flying insects, including flies (esp. horseflies and houseflies), beetles, flying ants, wasps, and true bugs. Occasionally, wild berries and seeds.

  Songs and calls of the Barn Swallow

Additional Information

Barn Swallow
Description, taxonomy, distribution, behavior, habitat, range, diet, breeding, parasites and predators. Includes photos and range map.

Barn Swallow
Photo of Barn Swallow in flight.

Barn Swallow in Flight

Barn Swallow in Flight

By Emilie Chen [CC ND 2.0]

Barn Swallow
Identification Tips

  • Tiny bill
  • Dark orange forehead and throat
  • Pale orange underparts
  • Dark, iridescent upperparts
  • Long, deeply forked tail
  • Juvenile similar to adult but paler underneath with a shorter tail
  • Most often seen flying
  • Will nest communally in mud nests under bridges, in barns and caves, etc.
Similar species

The Barn Swallow can be told from all swallows by its deeply forked tail.

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Barn Swallow Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Range in New England

The Barn Swallow breeds throughout New England.

This bird winters mainly in Central America as well as parts of Mexico.

Breeding Map from eBird

Sightings of the Barn Swallow during May-July over past 10 years (2009-2019)

Christmas Bird Count Map
Historical CBC Map from USGS