Fast, agile, feared by flying insects, it’s the swallow. These birds are found near lakes, ponds, open woodland, grasslands, savanna, marshes, mangroves, and scrubland; from mountainous regions to the sea. These skillful fliers both eat and drink on the wing. This means that they do so in mid flight. Pretty talented. These little birds are found on every continent, except Antarctica. Swallows are migratory birds that travel to great lengths for food and shelter. Since humans have began building permanent structures, their populations, around the world, have steadily increased.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Hirundinidae
Weight: Up to .63 ounces
Length: Up to 8.7 inches
Wingspan: Up to 13.6 inches
Lifespan: Up to 11 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) There are 84 known species of swallow, worldwide.
2.) As mentioned, they are actually able to drink while flying. They simply fly low and close to the water and scoop up sips as they glide by.
3.) Swallows can fly up to 20 mph.
4.) During migration, swallows fly up to 200 miles per day!
5.) It takes a pair of swallows up to 1,200 trips to make a nest.
But wait, there’s more on the swallow!
6.) Swallows are known to fearlessly dive bomb everything that they deem a threat. This includes: people, dogs, cats…
7.) Their European based journey takes them all the way to the Sahara desert each year!
Did you know…?
These tiny birds partake in a near 6,000 mile migration! Most impressive.
8.) Males without a mate will often times visit a nest of another swallow to associate with the female who is already paired with a male.
9.) If a male finds an unattended nest with chicks in it, he will likely kill all the babies in an effort to cause the female to “divorce” her mate and put herself back on the market for a new male. Not cool, Mr. Swallow. Not cool.
10.) Females lay between 4 – 5 eggs up to 2 times a year.
Now a Short Swallow Video!
Video courtesy of Mark, at avibirds.com
Also, check out the Critter Science YouTube channel. Videos added frequently!
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