Encyclopedia > Swallow

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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Binomial name
Hirundo rustica
Swallows are small migratory passerine birds. European Swallows spend the spring travelling northwards to their breeding grounds in Europe, as far north as the Arctic Circle. They winter in Africa.

The North American race, Barn Swallow differs from the European form in having redder underparts. The resident African Rufous-breasted Swallow H. r. semirufa also has red underparts, and is sometimes considered a separate species, Hirundo semirufa.

Swallows are somewhat similar in habits and appearance to the other aerial insectivores, such as the related martins and the unrelated swifts (order Apodiformes) . They have a long forked tail and curved wings.

Swallows are fast flyers and they generally swoop on insects while airborne.

They have dark blue upperparts, white underparts and a small patch of red on their throats.

Swifts are larger than swallows and dark except for a plain white throat. House martins have white faces, a conspicuous white rump, and are smaller.

Swallows build neat cup-shaped nests lined with mud collected in their beaks, They normally nest in accessible buildings such as stables.

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