Swallows are small birds with dark backs glittering with blue, rust-coloured throats, white bellies and long forked, streamer-like tails. When it flies, it can look totally black – it’s easiest to recognize by its long tail and skimming flight.
Swallows chatter and burble to each other when they sit on wires or along the edges of buildings - they may even wake you up! They fly north to Europe in springtime to breed, nest and raise their young. You can see them in the UK, from March until September. Swallows build nests of saliva and mud in the shape of a small bowl.
How to tell the difference between a Swallow and a Swift? The Swift is notably larger than Swallows, its wings are longer, significantly narrower, and scythe-shaped. The Swallow has more „flexible” wings, one can clearly see them fold. The tail of a Swallow is much longer noticeably forked. You should remember that generally if you can see Swallows in the countryside and Swifts in the city.
How to tell the difference between a young Swallows and an adult? Young Swallows are a bit smaller and have have shorter tails than their parents. If you live on a farm, you can probably find a nest in the old buildings, under a wooden beam or a rafter. If you are very quiet you might see a little bit of Swallow family life – there may be some chicks being fed insects by their parents.
What do they eat? Mostly the flying insects, more rarely insects caught in flight from the ground or water surface, sometimes also caught when sitting on plants or on the ground.
Swallows' nests The nest is usually hidden inside a building or under a bridge. It usually has the form of a quarter of a sphere made of mud or clay; mixed with long blades of grass and straws. It is attached to a wall, beam, cornice; it is always open from the top.
Wintering Wintering sites of European birds are in the western part of Africa, from the equatorial zone up to the south edge of the continent.
Population of Swallows in Europe Swallows are common and their population is quite stable in Europe, although destruction of their environment and natural surroundings could make Swallows disappear from our continent.