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Barn Swallow

(Hirundo rustica)
Alternate name(s): "Chimney Swallow", "European Swallow", "House Swallow*"
Size: 14-17 cm (race "gutturalis")
Weight: 14-20 g


Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Barn Swallow at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information


Race "gutturalis"


Sex unknown

Frontal/ventral view of an adult Barn Swallow in flight; note the characteristic large red throat patch with its black fringe (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Lee Point, Darwin, NT, October 2018]

Lateral view of an adult Barn Swallow in flight, wings down (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Lee Point, Darwin, NT, October 2018]

Lateral view onto the upperparts of a Barn Swallow in flight (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Lee Point, Darwin, NT, October 2018]


Ner-lateral view of an immature Barn Swallow in flight; note the whitish chin and mottled breast band which areindicative of a post-juvenile moult (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Lee Point, Darwin, NT, October 2018]

Breeding information

Breeding information is available from Europe.


Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Migratory Elementary unit: Flock

Food, Diet

Adults: Small insects Dependents: As adults Water intake: Daily(?)

Like all other swallows known to us, Barn Swallows are insect hunters. They feed in-flight on small insects.


For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

bswallow_jp_20200625.m4a rustica
Contact calls © JP
bswallow_dw_20170729.m4a rustica
Contact calls (in flight) © DW
bswallow_dw_20170729_2.m4a rustica
Contact calls (in flight) © DW
bswallow_dw_20160902.m4a rustica
Contact calls(?) © DW
bswallow_dw_20170729_1.m4a rustica
Group chatter © DW
bswallow_dw_20160520_1.m4a rustica
Group chatter © DW
bswallow_dw_20180819.m4a rustica
Group chatter © DW
bswallow_hds_20200906.m4a rustica
Congregating for migration © HDS
bswallow_dw_20170729_0.m4a rustica
Various (in flight) © DW
bswallow_dw_20170729_2.m4a rustica
Various (in flight) © DW
bswallow_jp_20220217.mp3 rustica
Various © JP
bswallow_hds_20200906_2.m4a rustica
? © HDS
bswallow_dw_20160520_2.m4a rustica
? © DW

More Barn Swallow sound recordings are available at .

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.