Fun Barn Swallow Facts For Kids

Akinwalere Olaleye
Jan 06, 2023 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Aug 12, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
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One of the most well-known barn swallow facts is that the bird has a deeply forked tail.

The barn swallow, Hirundo rustica, is a bird that belongs to the species known as swallows. In fact, barn swallows are the most widely distributed swallow species in the world.

From Asia to Africa to the Americas, this bird is found practically everywhere on the planet, even though it is thought to have originated in the Northern Hemisphere. However, migrations during the months of winter take them to territories south of the equator.

Barn swallows are incredibly popular among humans, as the birds are known for their song and their insect-eating behavior is well-tolerated by humans. As a result, they are among the ideal bird pets. So if you're a lover of birds and want to adopt one as a pet, we would definitely recommend considering the barn swallow.

So, read on through this Kidadl article, as we take you through some of the most interesting facts about the barn swallow. From barn swallow nest facts to barn swallow flight facts to its tail and way more - you'll find it all here.

You'll find in this article information about the barn swallow's forked tail, barn swallow's feathers, barn swallow chicks and North American swallows.

If you're interested in more facts-based articles, check out bank swallow facts and golden swallow facts right here on Kidadl.

Barn Swallow Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a barn swallow?

The barn swallow is a bird.

What class of animal does a barn swallow belong to?

The barn swallow belongs to the class of Aves.

How many barn swallows are there in the world?

There is no exact figure when it comes to the global population of barn swallows. However, according to estimates, the barn swallow is a bird that is in no imminent danger of facing any decline in its population.

Where does a barn swallow live?

A barn swallow has a vast range and can inhabit a diverse array of habitats. The only environments that this bird isn't comfortable with are deserts and dense forests. It can adapt to most other environments quite well, be it on the ground or in water.

What is a barn swallow's habitat?

As mentioned before, barn swallows can adapt to a wide variety of environments apart from deserts and dense forests, unlike many other birds. However, their ideal habitat is one that consists of farmland, pastures, and meadows.

That's why open areas in the world with these features happen to be places where the bird thrives. Also, barn swallows aren't common in the polar regions as the birds aren't able to survive in the harsh cold temperatures.

Who do barn swallows live with?

Barn swallows live in flocks.

How long does a barn swallow live?

On average, barn swallows live for around four years.

How do they reproduce?

Males typically initiate the breeding process by first choosing a nesting site, which they then advertise to the females to attract them. The process of attracting a female is unique, as males perform a circular flight ritual and song to attract the females following the choosing of the nesting site.

Experts believe that males with darker plumage are more likely to be successful in their attempts to attract females. The barn swallow's breeding season is variable depending on geographical location.

For example, for the North American birds, the breeding season begins in May and goes on until September. However, unlike the North American birds, the barn swallow populations in the south observe their mating season from March to September.

Following reproduction, it's time for the birds to engage in nest building. Following the nesting process, the female gives birth to a clutch of three to seven eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of barn swallows is of Least Concern according to the IUCN.

Barn Swallow Fun Facts

What do barn swallows look like?

The Barn Swallow

Barn swallows have steel-blue upper parts along with rufous chins, throats, and foreheads. These parts are separated by a dark blue band on the breast from the off-white underparts. The elongated outer tail feathers result in the iconic swallowtail appearance.

The upper tail's outer end has a line of white spots. While the appearances of females and males are quite similar, there are subtle differences. For example, the females have shorter tail streamers, paler underparts, and a less glossy breast band when compared to a male barn swallow.

How cute are they?

Barn swallows look incredibly cute due to their small size. The fact that they sing also makes them cuter than many other birds who aren't as vocal. They're also incredibly colorful and all in all, having them around is sure to brighten up even the gloomiest of days.

How do they communicate?

Barn swallows often sing and perform vocalizations and it is through their song and vocalizations that they communicate with each other. They start performing vocalizations at a very young age, which gradually mature and become their adult versions.

Two of their vocalizations are well known - the alarm calls and the calls for mating. They perform alarm calls whenever they detect a potential predator in their vicinity. Sometimes, predators are scared off by these calls.

How big is a barn swallow?

Compared to a golden eagle, which ranges from 25.9-39.3 in (65.7-99.8 cm) in length, a barn swallow is at least three times smaller.

How fast can a barn swallow fly?

While the barn swallow can fly, it doesn't rank among the fastest flying birds. On average, flying barn swallows maintain a consistent speed when in flight. However, their peak speeds can go up to 20 mph (32.1 kph). Their wing beat rate is around five times per second on average.

How much does a barn swallow weigh?

On average, an adult barn swallow weighs around 0.56-0.78 lb (0.25-0.35 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names for male and female barn swallows.

What would you call a baby barn swallow?

You would call a baby barn swallow a chick.

What do they eat?

Barn swallows are insectivores, i.e. they primarily feed on insects. Some of the insects barn swallows feed on include moths, flies, beetles, and grasshoppers.

However, the diet of a barn swallow depends a lot on the prey available in its immediate environment. If the aforementioned insects aren't abundant in their environment, they will hunt other flying insects and feed on them. They may also feed primarily on one type of insect depending on their tastes and preferences.

Are they aggressive?

Barn swallows aren't known for their aggression. However, in certain situations, they may turn hostile.

For example, following mating, if other creatures approach the barn swallow eggs or the recently born young, the adult swallows will first try to use their alarm calls to dissuade the creatures from approaching the nest. However, if the creatures continue to make their way towards the young nestlings, they may become aggressive.

Would they make a good pet?

Barn swallows make for amazing pets, especially if you can provide them something similar to their ideal habitat. So if you're considering adopting a bird as a pet, definitely spare a thought for a barn swallow.

Did you know...

Barn swallows are incredibly protective of the territory around their nests. Be it an animal approaching the nest from the ground or water, the swallows are quick to let the animals know that they are unwelcome at the nesting site. Typically, when intruders make their way to the nestlings, the adult swallows mob them and scare them off.

Costs and benefits of barn swallows

Barn swallows are friendly towards humans, which is why they are among the best bird pet species that you can adopt. However, keeping a pet comes with its fair share of responsibilities.

However, keeping your barn swallow happy and content isn't too tough a task. You should have enough time on your hands every day to pay attention to your pet's needs and wants. The cost of keeping a barn swallow as a pet varies based on the age of the swallow and nutritional requirements.

For example, you'd have to spend more on feeding an adult swallow than you would feeding a young chick. You should consult a vet for more information regarding this matter.

Comparisons with other swallows

Barn swallows aren't the only swallow species. They are only one of several different types of swallow species. But what's the difference? Well, the main differences lie in their appearance. For example, the cliff swallow has a lighter belly, paler nape, darker throat, and a chestnut-colored face.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these flightless cormorant facts and night heron facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable barn swallow coloring pages.

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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