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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Amaze-wing Cliff Swallow Facts You'll Never Forget

Read some cliff swallow facts about these compact shiny little birds and let us know your favorite!

Cliff swallows are cute little birds that are distinctly noticeable under bright lights as they have a metallic dark-blue shine, with a brown-colored face and white forehead. A truly beautiful sight, indeed.

This species of swallows are similar in appearance to barn swallow birds, and they are found breeding in various regions of North America, Mexico, and Central America. These birds belong to the order Passeriformes, family Hirundinidae and genus Petrochelidon. They are birds that nest in large colonies, with their nesting places typically being very close to water sources. They have small, tidy, and well-constructed nesting sites.

A cliff swallow nest is not lined with sticks and straws. They instead do their nest-building with the help of mud that they collect in their beaks. Their basic habitat is their colonies of mud-made nests that are typically very close to the other nestlings. Cliff swallow birds are often seen foraging in flocks.

The breeding and nesting season lasts between late April to the end of May. Once the mating is done, the females lay eggs. and the average egg clutch size of this bird is between one and six eggs. Both parents take part in the incubation of the eggs, which lasts for about 14 to 16 days. The pair also both take part in bringing food to their young, which usually consists of small insects. The young leave the nests after 21 to 23 days.

These birds' behavior is known to be calm, and they are extremely social at all times. A cliff swallow bird's diet includes flying insects, June beetles, adult weevils, true bugs, flies, winged ants, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, mayflies, lacewings, and spiders; this is considered to be their basic food.

Here on our page, we have lots of interesting facts on the cliff swallow species for everyone to enjoy. Let's have a look at these interesting facts, and if you like these, then you can read our swallow-tailed kite and dodo facts too.

Cliff Swallow Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a cliff swallow?

Cliff swallows are a species of birds. They are North American birds that nest in large colonies. This species of birds participate in migration from North America in large flocks. The crown and the back wings of these famous North American cliff swallow birds are deep blue in color.

What class of animal does a cliff swallow belong to?

Cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) birds belong to the class of Aves.

How many cliff swallows are there in the world?

An official study regarding the total population of cliff swallows in the world has not been conducted. However, according to existing data, it is safe to say that there at least thousands of cliff swallows in North America alone. More than 3000 cliff swallow nests can be found within a single colony, and there are many nesting places worldwide.

Where does a cliff swallow live?

The cliff swallow range expands across North America, Mexico, Central America, and eastern South America. A cliff swallow colony is made up of various mud nests. The breeding habitats of this species of birds are grasslands, towns, open forests, and river edges wherever there are cliff faces. These species build their nest with the help of mud that they collect in their beaks.

What is a cliff swallow's habitat?

A typical cliff swallow habitat is its nest that is made out of mud that this bird collects in its beak. They are birds that nest in a large colony and create nesting sites that are very close to each other and close to water sources. This bird is known for having tidy and well-constructed nesting sites.  They also build their nest on top of buildings and other human-made structures and their nests are not lined with sticks and straws. A pair of cliff swallow birds both put equal efforts into building their nest. These birds are also known to have migration seasons.

Who do cliff swallows live with?

Cliff swallows are found living with species of their own kind. This bird's behavior is very friendly, and they are often found playing around with other swallows. They are also seen co-existing with other birds such as cave swallows and the South African cliff swallow.

How long does a cliff swallow live?

The average lifespan of a cliff swallow is not officially recorded. Although, the longest living cliff swallow lived for 11 years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season begins towards the end of April and ends in late May. Once the mating is done, the females lay eggs. The average egg clutch size of this bird is between one and six eggs. Both males and females participate in keeping the eggs warm and safe and this incubation period last for about 14 to 16 days. Cliff swallow eggs are pale white to pinkish and are spotted with brown. Both members of the mating pair take part in bringing food to the young birds. They are often seen foraging in flocks and they usually feed insects to their young. The young birds leave their mud nests after 21 to 23 days.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN, the status of North American cliff swallows is declared as Least Concern. Their population is in a healthy state as of now.

Cliff Swallow Fun Facts

What do cliff swallows look like?

The cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) species of birds is similar to the species of North American barn swallows in appearance. They have long pointed wings and a white forehead. However, cliff swallow birds are generally brown in color and have a light white belly, chestnut-colored face, dark throat, and pale gray nape.

The crown and the back wings of these famous cliff swallow birds are a deep blue, much like those of the barn swallow.

How cute are they?

Cliff swallows are cute little birds with interesting color shades across their bodies. Their short neck and tiny beak beneath their short forehead give them an adorable look.

How do they communicate?

Cliff swallows are seen communicating by producing various calls or songs. A cliff swallow call consists of a soft chur and a short squeak when they are foraging. When they spot predators, they make a purring sound, much like cats, how adorable! During nesting or breeding season, they are heard making guttural grating noises and short squeaks.

How big is a cliff swallow?

A cliff swallow grows 5.5 in (13.97 cm) in length and 4.5 in (11.43 cm) tall. These birds are four times bigger than rats.

How fast can a cliff swallow fly?

A cliff swallow in flight can reach speeds of up to 34.8 mph (15.6 m/s). On average, they travel at 19.4 mph (8.7 m/s).

How much does a cliff swallow weigh?

Cliff swallow birds weigh about 0.05 lb (23 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

They do not have gender-specific names.

What would you call a baby cliff swallow?

A baby cliff swallow is known as a 'chick', much like other baby birds. When the chicks are just about ready to leave the nest finally, they can be referred to as 'nestlings'.

What do they eat?

The typical cliff swallow diet includes flying insects, true bugs, flies, spiders, mayflies, June beetles, adult weevils, winged ants, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, mosquitoes, and lacewings.

Are they harmful?

They are not directly harmful, although, as they tend to colonize human-made structures they may cause a nuisance to those living around them.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they would not make good pets, as they prefer to live in the wild among their colonies.

Did you know...

One major cliff swallow vs. barn swallow difference in appearance is that a cliff swallow has a thicker body and a square-shaped tail, whereas barn swallows have slimmer bodies and deeply forked tails.

These birds migrate slowly to their wintering grounds from North America, Mexico, Central America, and eastern South America. Cliff swallow migration can be seen taking place through various regions of Mexico.

Cliff swallow birds are often seen foraging in flocks. Their nest is not lined with sticks and straws, instead, a cliff swallow colony is made up of various mud nests.

Their breeding season is between late April and the end of May. According to certain studies, the cliff swallow's nesting capabilities are less successful when house sparrows are present around their colonies.

The cliff swallow population is very scarce in Nebraska.

How long does it take a cliff swallow to build a nest?

Both male and female birds contribute to the building of nests. They progress slowly by bringing in mud and water, after which they allow it to dry. It takes about 10-14 days on average to build the nest in which the family of cliff swallow birds will proceed to raise their young. Sometimes they return to this nest in the next breeding season, and sometimes the nest is used only once and then abandoned.

How do you get rid of cliff swallows?

If you suspect cliff swallows are nesting around your property, it is best to cover the area using garden bird netting. If the cliff swallows have managed to colonize a certain area, then the necessary permits must be taken to proceed with a formal nest removal. It is illegal to kill cliff swallows.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds, including the kestrel bird or the chinstrap penguin.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our cliff swallow coloring pages.

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