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Cool facts

  • The Barn Swallow is the most widely distributed and abundant swallow in the world.
  • When feeding their nestlings, swallows carry several insects at a time to the nest, packing them together into a ball that they carry in their throats. A pair of swallows may bring up to 400 separate meals per day to their nestlings.
  • Barn Swallows originally nested in caves, but now nests almost exclusively on man-made structures. Learn more about their nests here.


A twittery series of squeaky notes, often with dry rattle in the middle.
To listen to the songs of this species check out the ‘How to Identify’ section of its Focal Species page.


Open areas with structures for nesting.


Flying insects.

Did you know?

  • The Barn Swallows’ close association with humans has given it a prominent place in folklore. Legend has it that the Barn Swallow consoled Christ on the cross and got its forked tail because it stole fire from the gods to bring to people, losing its middle tail-feathers when a wrathful deity hurled a firebrand at it.
  • Female Barn Swallows prefer to mate with males that have the longest and most symmetrical tails.