Forest

Habitats

Forest

  • 1.1. Boreal
  • 1.2. Subarctic
  • 1.3. Subantarctic
  • 1.4. Temperate
  • 1.5. Subtropical/tropical dry
  • 1.6. Subtropical/tropical moist lowland
  • 1.7. Subtropical/tropical mangrove vegetation above high tide level
  • 1.8. Subtropical/tropical swamp
  • 1.9. Subtropical/tropical moist montane

 

Forest Animals

North America

Continents

North America

 

North American Animals

Savanna

Habitats

Savanna

  • 2.1. Dry
  • 2.2. Moist

 

Savanna Animals

Europe

Continents

Europe

 

European Animals

Asia

Continents

Asia

 

Asian Animals

Shrubland

Habitats

Shrubland

  • 3.1. Subarctic
  • 3.2. Subantarctic
  • 3.3. Boreal
  • 3.4. Temperate
  • 3.5. Subtropical/tropical dry
  • 3.6. Subtropical/tropical moist
  • 3.7. Subtropical/tropical high altitude
  • 3.8. Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation

 

Shrubland Animals

Grassland

Habitats

Grassland

  • 4.1. Tundra
  • 4.2. Subarctic
  • 4.3. Subantarctic
  • 4.4. Temperate
  • 4.5. Subtropical/tropical dry
  • 4.6. Subtropical/tropical seasonally wet/flooded
  • 4.7. Subtropical/tropical high altitude

 

Grassland Animals

South America

Continents

South America

 

South American Animals

Wetlands

Habitats

Wetlands (Inland)

  • 5.1. Permanent rivers/streams/creeks (includes waterfalls)
  • 5.2. Seasonal/intermittent/irregular rivers/streams/creeks
  • 5.3. Shrub dominated wetlands
  • 5.4. Bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, peatlands
  • 5.5. Permanent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha)
  • 5.6. Seasonal/intermittent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha)
  • 5.7. Permanent freshwater marshes/pools (under 8 ha)
  • 5.8. Seasonal/intermittent freshwater marshes/pools (under 8 ha)
  • 5.9. Freshwater springs and oases
  • 5.10. Tundra wetlands (inc. pools and temporary waters from snowmelt)
  • 5.11. Alpine wetlands (inc. temporary waters from snowmelt)
  • 5.12. Geothermal wetlands
  • 5.13. Permanent inland deltas
  • 5.14. Permanent saline, brackish or alkaline lakes
  • 5.15. Seasonal/intermittent saline, brackish or alkaline lakes and flats
  • 5.16. Permanent saline, brackish or alkaline marshes/pools
  • 5.17. Seasonal/intermittent saline, brackish or alkaline marshes/pools
  • 5.18. Karst and other subterranean hydrological systems (inland)

 

Wetland Animals

Africa

Continents

Africa

 

African Animals

Rocky

Habitats

Rocky

  • Inland Cliffs
  • Mountain Peaks

 

Rocky Area Animals

Australia

Continents

Australia

 

Australian Animals

Antarctica

Continents

Antarctica

 

Antarctic Animals

Caves & Subterranean

Habitats

Caves & Subterranean (Non-Aquatic)

  • 7.1. Caves
  • 7.2. Other subterranean habitats

 

Caves & Subterranean Animals

Desert

Habitats

Desert

  • 8.1. Hot
  • 8.2. Temperate
  • 8.3. Cold

 

Desert Animals

Marine Neritic

Habitats

Marine Neritic

  • 9.1. Pelagic
  • 9.2. Subtidal rock and rocky reefs
  • 9.3. Subtidal loose rock/pebble/gravel
  • 9.4. Subtidal sandy
  • 9.5. Subtidal sandy-mud
  • 9.6. Subtidal muddy
  • 9.7. Macroalgal/kelp
  • 9.8. Coral Reef
    • 9.8.1. Outer reef channel
    • 9.8.2. Back slope
    • 9.8.3. Foreslope (outer reef slope)
    • 9.8.4. Lagoon
    • 9.8.5. Inter-reef soft substrate
    • 9.8.6. Inter-reef rubble substrate
  • 9.9 Seagrass (Submerged)
  • 9.10 Estuaries

 

Marine Neritic Animals

Marine Oceanic

Habitats

Marine Oceanic

  • 10.1 Epipelagic (0–200 m)
  • 10.2 Mesopelagic (200–1,000 m)
  • 10.3 Bathypelagic (1,000–4,000 m)
  • 10.4 Abyssopelagic (4,000–6,000 m)

 

Marine Oceanic Animals

Marine Deep Ocean Floor

Habitats

Marine Deep Ocean Floor (Benthic and Demersal)

  • 11.1 Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200–4,000 m)
    • 11.1.1 Hard Substrate
    • 11.1.2 Soft Substrate
  • 11.2 Abyssal Plain (4,000–6,000 m)
  • 11.3 Abyssal Mountain/Hills (4,000–6,000 m)
  • 11.4 Hadal/Deep Sea Trench (>6,000 m)
  • 11.5 Seamount
  • 11.6 Deep Sea Vents (Rifts/Seeps)

 

Marine Deep Ocean Floor Animals

Marine Intertidal

Habitats

Marine Intertidal

  • 12.1 Rocky Shoreline
  • 12.2 Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, etc.
  • 12.3 Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches
  • 12.4 Mud Shoreline and Intertidal Mud Flats
  • 12.5 Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses)
  • 12.6 Tidepools
  • 12.7 Mangrove Submerged Roots

 

Marine Intertidal Animals

Marine Coastal/Supratidal

Habitats

Marine Coastal/Supratidal

  • 13.1 Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands
  • 13.2 Coastal Caves/Karst
  • 13.3 Coastal Sand Dunes
  • 13.4 Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes
  • 13.5 Coastal Freshwater Lakes

 

Marine Coastal/Supratidal Animals

Artificial Terrestrial

Habitats

Artificial – Terrestrial

  • 14.1 Arable Land
  • 14.2 Pastureland
  • 14.3 Plantations
  • 14.4 Rural Gardens
  • 14.5 Urban Areas
  • 14.6 Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest

 

Artificial Terrestrial Animals

Artificial Aquatic

Habitats

Artificial – Aquatic

  • 15.1 Water Storage Areas [over 8 ha]
  • 15.2 Ponds [below 8 ha]
  • 15.3 Aquaculture Ponds
  • 15.4 Salt Exploitation Sites
  • 15.5 Excavations (open)
  • 15.6 Wastewater Treatment Areas
  • 15.7 Irrigated Land [includes irrigation channels]
  • 15.8 Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land
  • 15.9 Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches
  • 15.10 Karst and Other Subterranean Hydrological Systems [human-made]
  • 15.11 Marine Anthropogenic Structures
  • 15.12 Mariculture Cages
  • 15.13 Mari/Brackish-culture Pond

 

Artificial Aquatic
Habitats

Introduced Vegetation

 

Introduced Vegetation Animals

Other

Other

 

Other Habitat Animals

Unknown

Unknown

 

Unknown Habitat Animals

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Female barn swallows select mates with symmetrical wings and tails and prefer longer tail feathers, all traits connected with increased strength, vitality, and longevity, as well as greater disease resistance.

Several studies have researched sexual selection in barn swallows.

Males try to attract females by spreading their tails to display them and singing.

Female barn swallows have been documented selecting for symmetrical wings and tails in potential mates. Males exhibiting greater symmetry acquired mates more quickly than did asymmetric males.

Asymmetry can result from genetic factors such as inbreeding or mutations as well as from environmental stress such as food deficiency, parasite infestation, or the presence of pathogens. Asymmetry of physical characteristics in barn swallows tends to be transmitted to the young in distinct parent to offspring patterns. Tail asymmetry tends to pass from father to son and from mother to daughter. Alternatively, wing asymmetry does not appear to transfer at all on a reliable basis from parent to offspring. Individuals affected by these factors not only exhibited asymmetry, but also decreased strength and longevity. Therefore, females that selected symmetrical mates would presumably be selecting superior mates.

In addition to selecting for symmetry, females also tend to select males with longer tail feathers. A connection between the tail length of male barn swallows and their offspring’s vitality and longevity has been observed. Males with longer tail feathers exhibit traits of greater longevity which is passed on to their offspring. Females thus gain an indirect fitness benefit from this form of selection, as longer tail feathers indicate a genetically stronger individual who will produce offspring with enhanced vitality. Individuals with longer tails have also been observed to demonstrate greater disease resistance than their short-tailed counterparts. There is also evidence that males select female mates with long tails.


Image | © The_dinga, Some Rights Reserved, Pixabay
Sources | (Bolzern, Moller, & Saino, 1997; Brown & Brown, 1999; De Lope & Moller, 1993; Moller, June 1994, July 1994, 1995; Roth, 2002)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn swallows have a symbiotic relationship with ospreys and will nest near them for protection while alerting the osprey of predators with alarm calls.

Barn swallows frequently engage in a symbiotic relationship with ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), coexisting in a single nesting area to the mutual benefit of both species. Barn swallows will nest either below a much larger osprey nest or in a portion of an abandoned osprey nest.

By nesting near an osprey population, the barn swallows receive protection from birds of prey, which are driven away from the nests by the much larger ospreys. In return, ospreys are alerted to the presence of these predators by the barn swallows which give alarm calls when predators are nearby.


Image | © MonikaDesigns, Some Rights Reserved, Pixabay
Sources | (Barker, Ewins, & Miller, 1994; Brown & Brown, 1999; Roth, 2002)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn swallows have an average lifespan of 4 years and those with longer, more symmetrical tails tend to live longer.

The average lifespan of barn swallows is 4 years. Barn swallows of 8 years of age have been documented, but these are considered the exception.

Survival prospects and longevity appear to increase with tail length and wing and tail symmetry.


Image | © Sandy/Chuck Harris, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Sources | (Moller, June 1994, July 1994; Perrins, 1989; Roth, 2002; Terres, 1991)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Un-mated male barn swallows often associate with a breeding pair for an entire season, helping with nest defense, nest building, incubation, and brooding, and may succeed in mating with the resident female.

Un-mated adults often associate with a breeding pair for up to an entire season. Though these helpers do not usually feed the young, they may help with nest defense, nest building, incubation, and brooding.

Helpers are predominantly male, and may succeed in mating with the resident female, leading to polygyny.


Image | © Michael Levine-Clark, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Bolzern, Moller, & Saino, 1997; Brown & Brown, 1999; De Lope & Moller, 1993; Moller, June 1994, July 1994, 1995; Roth, 2002)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

The barn swallow is occasionally hunted for sport.

The barn swallow is occasionally hunted for sport.


Image | © Capri23auto, Some Rights Reserved, Pixabay
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Both sexes of barn swallows help build the nest out of mud pellets, dry grass, straw, horsehair, and white feathers.

Both sexes of barn swallow help build the nest, which measures a cup or half-cup.

The nest’s exterior is made from mud pellets mixed with fibers such as dry grass, straw, and horsehair. The nest is lined with dry grass and white feathers. Originally nests were built in caves or on cliffs but now they’re almost always on artificial structures.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; Brown & Brown, 1999; McWilliams, 2000; Perrins, 1989; Roth, 2002; Terres, 1991; Turner & Rose, 1989; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2019)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

The main threat to barn swallows is agriculture including farming practices, loss of foraging areas, livestock rearing, improved hygiene, land drainage, and the use of herbicides and pesticides.

The main threat to the barn swallow is the intensification of agriculture. Barn swallow populations are generally considered to be stable and sufficiently extensive. However, declines in the amount of acreage devoted to agriculture in recent years have resulted in reduced barn swallow numbers. This can be attributed to a reduction in habitat as the barns and outbuildings which once housed barn swallows, give way to more urban settings.

Changes in farming practices such as the abandonment of traditional milk and beef production have resulted in a loss of suitable foraging areas. In addition, there has been a reduction in food supply. Insects attracted by the presence of livestock and the ideal surrounding habitat are the primary food source for barn swallows living in agricultural areas. Locations where farming has ceased exhibit a 50% reduction in insect populations. Intensive livestock rearing, improved hygiene, land drainage, and the use of herbicides and pesticides all reduce the numbers of insect prey available.

Lastly, suitable nest sites are often scarcer on modern farms.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; Brown & Brown, 1999; Moore, 2001; Roth, 2002)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn swallows contribute to the ecosystem by eating an enormous amount of insects and controlling their populations.

Barn swallows eat an enormous amount of insects and are very important in the control of their populations. They are quite effective in reducing insect pest populations.

Barn swallows are also a useful food source for many predators.

Barn swallows can also serve as an indicator or trigger organism, indicating possible environmental trouble, as declines in their relatively abundant numbers may precede other more obvious effects of environmental stress.


Image | © Vincent van Zalinge, Some Rights Reserved, Unsplash
Sources | (Barker, Ewins, & Miller, 1994; Brown & Brown, 1999; Moore, 2001; Perrins, 1989; Roth, 2002)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn swallows forage opportunistically and will follow tractors and plows in order to catch the insects that are disturbed by the machinery.

Barn swallows forage opportunistically. They have been observed following tractors and plows in order to catch the insects that are disturbed by the machinery.

A study in West Virginia found that barn swallows foraged within 1.2 kilometers of their nests. In Europe, barn swallows foraged within 500 meters of their nest.


Image | © Capri23auto, Some Rights Reserved, Pixabay
Sources | (Brown & Brown, 1999; Perrins, 1989; Roth, 2002; Terres, 1991)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Although all swallows are socially monogamous, barn swallows differ in the sharing of parental care, raising 2 broods a summer of 2-7 eggs each.

Although all swallows are socially monogamous, barn swallows differ from most swallow species in the sharing of parental care. In North America, both parents incubate the eggs, which hatch in 13 to 15 days. However, females provide more parental care than do males.

Barn swallows usually raise two broods of chicks each summer. The female lays a clutch of two to seven eggs, with an average of five.

The chicks are naked and helpless when they hatch. Both parents feed and protect the chicks, as well as remove fecal sacs from the nest. During the nestling period, barn swallow parents may feed their nestlings up to 400 times per day. Barn swallows feed their chicks insects compressed into a pellet, which is transported to the nest in the parent’s throat. Juveniles from the first brood of the season have even been observed assisting their parents in feeding a second brood.

The nestlings remain in the nest for about 20 days before fledging. When barn swallows are handled by humans they tend to attempt to fledge at least a day too early. The parents continue to care for the chicks for up to a week after fledging, feeding them and leading them back to the nest to sleep. By two weeks after fledging, the barn swallow chicks have dispersed and often travel widely to other barn swallow colonies.

Young barn swallows are able to breed in the first breeding season after they have hatched. Generally, young barn swallows do not produce as many eggs as do older birds.


Image | © Flensshot, Some Rights Reserved, Pixabay
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; Brown & Brown, 1999; McWilliams, 2000; Perrins, 1989; Roth, 2002; Terres, 1991; Turner & Rose, 1989)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

The barn swallow’s global population is estimated at about 290,000,000-500,000,000 individuals, 20% of which can be found in Europe.

Barn swallows continue to be widespread and common throughout their range. The barn swallow’s global population is estimated at about 290,000,000-500,000,000 individuals.

The European population is estimated at 29,000,000-48,700,000 pairs, which equates to 58,000,000-97,400,000 mature individuals. Europe forms approximately 20% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 290,000,000-487,000,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

National population estimates include: c.10,000-1 million breeding pairs and > c.1,000 individuals on migration in China; c.10,000- 100,000 breeding pairs, > c.10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000 individuals on migration in Korea; c.10,000-1 million breeding pairs, > c.1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia.

The barn swallow has undergone a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years in North America. Trends for the European population between 1980 and 2013 have been stable, however, the European population size is estimated to be decreasing by less than 25% in 11.7 years, or three generations.


Image | © susannp4, Some Rights Reserved, Pixabay
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2015; 2016; Brazil, 2009; Brown & Brown, 1999; EBCC, 2015; Moore, 2001; Rich, et al., 2004; Roth, 2002)

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Because barn swallow nests can be unsightly and can create cleanliness and health issues for humans, they are sometimes removed as a nuisance.

Some humans feel that barn swallow nests are a nuisance, and are unsightly when they are attached to buildings and other man-made structures. Large colonies in urban areas can also create detrimental cleanliness and health issues for humans. Finally, salmonella can be transmitted through barn swallow feces, posing a threat to livestock that live in close proximity to barn swallow colonies.

As such, barn swallow nests are sometimes removed as a nuisance.


Image | © Adam Muise, Some Rights Reserved, Unsplash
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; Brown & Brown, 1999; Perrins, 1989)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn swallows have a wide variety of calls used in different situations and will sing, both individually and as a group.

Barn swallows use vocalizations and body language, such as postures and movements, to communicate.

Barn swallows sing, both individually and as a group. Barn swallows have individual songs and often sing as a chorus.

They have a wide variety of calls used in different situations, from predator alarm calls, to courtship calls, and calls of young in nests. Nestlings give off a faint chirp while begging for food. Barn swallows also make clicking noises, which they create by snapping their jaws together.


Image | © Arjan Stalpers, Some Rights Reserved, Unsplash
Sources | (Brown & Brown, 1999; Hebblethwaite & Shields, 1990; Moller, 1991 Roth, 2002)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn swallows are aerial foraging insectivores and feed almost entirely on flying insects, such as flies, grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, beetles, and moths.

Barn swallows are aerial foraging insectivores and feed almost entirely on flying insects. Flies, grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, beetles, moths, and other flying insects make up 99% of their diet.

Barn swallows catch most of their prey while in flight, and are able to feed their young at the nest while flying.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; Brown & Brown, 1999; Perrins, 1989; Roth, 2002; Snow & Perrins, 1998; Terres, 1991; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2019)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Because of its extremely large range and population size, the barn swallow is evaluated as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The barn swallow has an extremely large range, and is not endangered, although there may be local population declines due to specific threats. The barn swallow does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 kilometers squared combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation).

Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations).

The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure).

For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.


Image | © The_dinga, Some Rights Reserved, Pixabay
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2019)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

The barn swallow is migratory as it is susceptible to climate change and bad weather and will migrate to sub-Saharan Africa, southern Europe, South America, and South Asia in the winter months.

The barn swallow is susceptible to changes in climate with bad weather in the wintering areas as well as the breeding grounds affecting breeding success. As such, the barn swallow is migratory.

European birds winter in sub-Saharan Africa, although some individuals winter in southern and western Europe each year. Birds breeding in North America winter in South America whilst birds breeding in East Asia winter in South Asia.

While migrating, barn swallows tend to fly over open areas, often near water or along mountain ridges.


Image | © Capri23auto, Some Rights Reserved, Pixabay
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; McWilliams, 2000; Roth, 2002; Snow & Perrins, 1998; Terres, 1991; Tucker & Heath, 1994; Turner & Christie, 2017)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn swallows are socially monogamous, but genetically polygamous, as extra-pair copulations are common.

Like all swallows, barn swallows are socially monogamous. However, extra-pair copulations are common, making this species genetically polygamous.

The barn swallow’s breeding season is usually from May to August, but this varies greatly with location. Breeding pairs form each spring after arrival on the breeding grounds. Pairs re-form each spring, though pairs that have nested together successfully may mate together for several years.


Image | © daniela de gol, Some Rights Reserved, Unsplash
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; Bolzern, Moller, & Saino, 1997; Brown & Brown, 1999; De Lope & Moller, 1993; McWilliams, 2000; Moller, June 1994, July 1994, 1995; Perrins, 1989; Roth, 2002; Terres, 1991)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn swallows are often seen in large social groups and nest colonially, as a result of the distribution of high quality nests.

Barn swallows are often seen in large social groups sitting on telephone wires or other elevated structures.

Barn swallows also nest colonially, probably as a result of the distribution of high quality nest sites. Within a colony, barn swallows defend a territory around their nest. In European barn swallows, these territories range in size from about 4 to 8 square meters.


Image | © Hassan Pasha, Some Rights Reserved, Unsplash
Sources | (Hebblethwaite & Shields, 1990; Roth, 2002; Moller, 1991)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn swallows are very adaptable birds and nest anywhere with open areas for foraging, a water source, and a sheltered ledge, seeking out habitats of all types.

Barn swallows are very adaptable birds and breed in a wide range of climates over a wide altitudinal range. It is a bird of open country that normally uses man-made structures to breed and consequently has spread with human expansion. They prefer open country, such as farmland, where buildings provide nesting sites and where water is nearby, but can nest anywhere with open areas for foraging, a water source, and a sheltered ledge.

Barn swallows seek out open habitats of all types, including savanna, shrubland, grassland, inland wetlands, artificial terrestrial habitats, artificial aquatic and marine habitats, and agricultural areas. They are commonly found in barns or other outbuildings. It is primarily a rural species in Europe and North America, whilst in north Africa and Asia it often breeds in towns and cities. In urban areas in Europe it is superseded by the house martin (Delichon urbicum).

Barn swallows will build nests in barns or similar structures, under bridges, the eaves of old houses, and boat docks, as well as in rock caves and even on slow-moving trains. Barn swallows generally nest below 3000-meter elevation.


Image | © Laura Wolf, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY 2.0)
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; McWilliams, 2000; Roth, 2002; Terres, 1991; Turner & Christie, 2017; Turner & Rose, 1989; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2019)

 

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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

The barn swallow is the most widespread species of swallow in the world and is native in all the biogeographic regions except Antarctica.

Barn swallows are native in all the biogeographic regions except Antarctica. The barn swallow is the most widespread species of swallow in the world and is found in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas.

The breeding range of barn swallows includes North America, northern Europe, northcentral Asia, northern Africa, the Middle East, southern China, and Japan. European birds winter in sub-Saharan Africa, although some individuals winter in southern and western Europe each year. Birds breeding in North America winter in South America whilst birds breeding in East Asia winter in South Asia, Indonesia, and Micronesia.


Image | © Laura Wolf, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY 2.0)
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2016; Roth, 2002; Snow & Perrins, 1998; Terres, 1991; Tucker & Heath, 1994; Turner & Christie, 2017; Turner & Rose, 1989; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2019)

 

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Barn Swallow Trivia

Barn Swallow

Do you think you know the barn swallow? Test your knowledge of barn swallow FaunaFacts with this trivia quiz!

Click on an answer choice to receive instant feedback. Red answers are incorrect, but allow you to continue guessing. Green answers are correct and will provide additional explanatory information. Sometimes more than one answer is correct!

Learn More About the Barn Swallow | Play on Quizizz


What are alternate names for the barn swallow?
Swallow
In Anglophone Europe, the barn swallow is just called the “swallow”. In Northern Europe, it is the only common species called a “swallow” rather than a “martin”. It is also known as the “common swallow” and “European swallow”.
Common Swallow
In Anglophone Europe, the barn swallow is just called the “swallow”. In Northern Europe, it is the only common species called a “swallow” rather than a “martin”. It is also known as the “common swallow” and “European swallow”.
European Swallow
In Anglophone Europe, the barn swallow is just called the “swallow”. In Northern Europe, it is the only common species called a “swallow” rather than a “martin”. It is also known as the “common swallow” and “European swallow”.
Martin

How many subspecies of barn swallow are recognized?
6
Six subspecies of the barn swallow are generally recognized.
0
3
9

What is the barn swallow’s diet?
Carnivorous
Barn swallows are carnivorous insectivores and feed almost entirely on flying insects.
Herbivorous
Omnivorous

Barn swallows are migratory.
True
The barn swallow is susceptible to changes in climate with bad weather in the wintering areas as well as the breeding grounds affecting breeding success. As such, the barn swallow is migratory.
False

Barn swallows are considered a nuisance.
True
Some humans feel that barn swallow nests are a nuisance, and are unsightly when they are attached to buildings and other man-made structures. As such, barn swallow nests are sometimes removed as a nuisance.
False

How much of a barn swallow’s diet is caught in the air?
99%
Barn swallows feed almost entirely on flying insects and catch most of their prey while in flight. Flies, grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, beetles, moths, and other flying insects make up 99% of their diet.
25%
50%
75%

What sounds do barn swallows make?
Predator Alarm Calls
Barn swallows have a wide variety of calls used in different situations, from predator alarm calls, to courtship calls, and calls of young in nests. Nestlings give off a faint chirp while begging for food. Barn swallows also make clicking noises, which they create by snapping their jaws together.
Courtship Calls
Barn swallows have a wide variety of calls used in different situations, from predator alarm calls, to courtship calls, and calls of young in nests. Nestlings give off a faint chirp while begging for food. Barn swallows also make clicking noises, which they create by snapping their jaws together.
Nestling Chirps
Barn swallows have a wide variety of calls used in different situations, from predator alarm calls, to courtship calls, and calls of young in nests. Nestlings give off a faint chirp while begging for food. Barn swallows also make clicking noises, which they create by snapping their jaws together.
Jaw Clicking
Barn swallows have a wide variety of calls used in different situations, from predator alarm calls, to courtship calls, and calls of young in nests. Nestlings give off a faint chirp while begging for food. Barn swallows also make clicking noises, which they create by snapping their jaws together.

What is the barn swallow’s rhythm?
Diurnal
Barn swallows are diurnal.
Nocturnal
Crepuscular
Cathemeral

What preys on barn swallows?
Hawks
American kestrels (Falco sparverius) and other hawks, such as sharp-shinned hawks (Accipiter striatus) and Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii), eastern screech owls (Megascops asio), gulls (Laridae), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), boat-tailed grackles (Quiscalus major), brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), squirrels (Sciuridae), weasels (Mustela), Northern raccoons (Procyon lotor), bobcats (Lynx rufus), domestic cats (Felis catus), snakes (Serpentes), bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus), fish (Actinopterygii), and fire ants (Formicidae) are predators of barn swallows.
Cats
American kestrels (Falco sparverius) and other hawks, such as sharp-shinned hawks (Accipiter striatus) and Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii), eastern screech owls (Megascops asio), gulls (Laridae), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), boat-tailed grackles (Quiscalus major), brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), squirrels (Sciuridae), weasels (Mustela), Northern raccoons (Procyon lotor), bobcats (Lynx rufus), domestic cats (Felis catus), snakes (Serpentes), bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus), fish (Actinopterygii), and fire ants (Formicidae) are predators of barn swallows.
Snakes
American kestrels (Falco sparverius) and other hawks, such as sharp-shinned hawks (Accipiter striatus) and Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii), eastern screech owls (Megascops asio), gulls (Laridae), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), boat-tailed grackles (Quiscalus major), brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), squirrels (Sciuridae), weasels (Mustela), Northern raccoons (Procyon lotor), bobcats (Lynx rufus), domestic cats (Felis catus), snakes (Serpentes), bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus), fish (Actinopterygii), and fire ants (Formicidae) are predators of barn swallows.
Ants
American kestrels (Falco sparverius) and other hawks, such as sharp-shinned hawks (Accipiter striatus) and Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii), eastern screech owls (Megascops asio), gulls (Laridae), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), boat-tailed grackles (Quiscalus major), brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), squirrels (Sciuridae), weasels (Mustela), Northern raccoons (Procyon lotor), bobcats (Lynx rufus), domestic cats (Felis catus), snakes (Serpentes), bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus), fish (Actinopterygii), and fire ants (Formicidae) are predators of barn swallows.

Barn swallows live in close association with humans.
True
The barn swallow lives in close association with humans and its insect-eating habits mean that it is tolerated by humans.
False

Like all swallows, barn swallows are socially monogamous.
True
Like all swallows, barn swallows are socially monogamous.
False

What is the barn swallow’s mating system?
Polygynous
Like all swallows, barn swallows are socially monogamous. However, extra-pair copulations are common, making this species genetically polygynous.
Monogamous
Polyandrous
Polygynandrous

How long is barn swallow incubation?
2 Weeks
Both barn swallow parents incubate the eggs, which hatch in 13 to 15 days.
2 Days
1 Month
2 Months

Like all swallows, barn swallows share parental care of the young.
False
Although all swallows are socially monogamous, barn swallows differ from most swallow species in the sharing of parental care.
True

Which bird competes with barn swallows for nesting sites?
House Sparrow
In North America, introduced house sparrows (Passer domesticus) are serious nest-site competitors, taking over nests and destroying eggs and nestlings.
Osprey
Brown-Headed Cowbird
House Finch

What is the parental investment of the barn swallow?
Maternal & Paternal
Barn swallows differ from most swallow species in the sharing of parental care.
Maternal
Paternal
None

Barn swallows are opportunistic foragers.
True
Barn swallows forage opportunistically. They have been observed following tractors and plows in order to catch the insects that are disturbed by the machinery.
False

What is the barn swallow’s social system?
Social
Barn swallows are often seen in large social groups sitting on telephone wires or other elevated structures. Barn swallows also nest colonially, probably as a result of the distribution of high quality nest sites.
Solitary

There are currently conservation measures for the barn swallow in Europe.
False
There are currently no known conservation measures for the barn swallow within Europe.
True

What habitats do barn swallows inhabit?
Savanna
Barn swallows seek out open habitats of all types, including savanna, shrubland, grassland, inland wetlands, artificial terrestrial habitats, artificial aquatic and marine habitats, and agricultural areas.
Grassland
Barn swallows seek out open habitats of all types, including savanna, shrubland, grassland, inland wetlands, artificial terrestrial habitats, artificial aquatic and marine habitats, and agricultural areas.
Artificial Terrestrial
Barn swallows seek out open habitats of all types, including savanna, shrubland, grassland, inland wetlands, artificial terrestrial habitats, artificial aquatic and marine habitats, and agricultural areas.
Forest

The barn swallow is the most widespread species of swallow.
True
The barn swallow is the most widespread species of swallow in the world.
False

Un-mated barn swallows will help mated barn swallows with which tasks?
Incubation
Un-mated adults often associate with a breeding pair for up to an entire season. Though these “helpers” do not usually feed the young, they may help with nest defense, nest building, incubation, and brooding.
Nest Building
Un-mated adults often associate with a breeding pair for up to an entire season. Though these “helpers” do not usually feed the young, they may help with nest defense, nest building, incubation, and brooding.
Nest Defense
Un-mated adults often associate with a breeding pair for up to an entire season. Though these “helpers” do not usually feed the young, they may help with nest defense, nest building, incubation, and brooding.
Feeding the Young

Barn swallows have a symbiotic relationship with what bird?
Osprey
Barn swallows frequently engage in a symbiotic relationship with ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), coexisting in a single nesting area to the mutual benefit of both species.
House Sparrow
Brown-Headed Cowbird
American Kestrel

Barn swallows use what materials to build nests?
Mud
The barn swallow nest’s exterior is made from mud pellets mixed with fibers such as dry grass, straw, and horsehair. The nest is lined with dry grass and white feathers.
Feathers
The barn swallow nest’s exterior is made from mud pellets mixed with fibers such as dry grass, straw, and horsehair. The nest is lined with dry grass and white feathers.
Grass
The barn swallow nest’s exterior is made from mud pellets mixed with fibers such as dry grass, straw, and horsehair. The nest is lined with dry grass and white feathers.
Horsehair
The barn swallow nest’s exterior is made from mud pellets mixed with fibers such as dry grass, straw, and horsehair. The nest is lined with dry grass and white feathers.

What continents does the barn swallow inhabit?
Europe
The barn swallow is found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Asia
The barn swallow is found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Africa
The barn swallow is found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Antarctica

What is linked to longer longevity in barn swallows?
Tail Length
Survival prospects and longevity appear to increase with tail length and wing and tail symmetry.
Wing & Tail Symmetry
Survival prospects and longevity appear to increase with tail length and wing and tail symmetry.
Beak Length
Vibrant Red Markings

There is sexual dimorphism in the coloration of the barn swallow.
True, males are more vibrant.
Males and females are similar in appearance, though females tend to be less vibrantly colored.
True, females are more vibrant.
False

What is the global population of barn swallows?
290,000,000-500,000,00
The barn swallow’s global population is estimated at about 290,000,000-500,000,00 individuals.
290,000-500,000
2,900,000-5,000000
29,000-50,000

What is the barn swallow evaluated on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
Least Concern
The barn swallow is evaluated as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Near Threatened
Vulnerable
Endangered

How do male barn swallows attract a mate?
Singing
Male barn swallows try to attract females by spreading their tails to display them and singing.
Tail Display
Male barn swallows try to attract females by spreading their tails to display them and singing.
Nest Building
Food Sharing

What is the barn swallow’s population trend?
Decreasing
There may be local population declines in barn swallows due to specific threats.
Increasing
Stable
Unknown

What is the barn swallow’s scientific name?
Hirundo rustica
The barn swallow’s scientific name is Hirundo rustica.
Passer domesticus
Tyto alba
Delichon urbicum

How do barn swallows negatively effect humans?
Unsightly Nests
Some humans feel that barn swallow nests are a nuisance, and are unsightly when they are attached to buildings and other man-made structures. Large colonies in urban areas can also create detrimental cleanliness and health issues for humans. Finally, salmonella can be transmitted through barn swallow feces, posing a threat to livestock that live in close proximity to barn swallow colonies.
Detrimental Cleanliness
Some humans feel that barn swallow nests are a nuisance, and are unsightly when they are attached to buildings and other man-made structures. Large colonies in urban areas can also create detrimental cleanliness and health issues for humans. Finally, salmonella can be transmitted through barn swallow feces, posing a threat to livestock that live in close proximity to barn swallow colonies.
Health Issues
Some humans feel that barn swallow nests are a nuisance, and are unsightly when they are attached to buildings and other man-made structures. Large colonies in urban areas can also create detrimental cleanliness and health issues for humans. Finally, salmonella can be transmitted through barn swallow feces, posing a threat to livestock that live in close proximity to barn swallow colonies.
Salmonella Transmission
Some humans feel that barn swallow nests are a nuisance, and are unsightly when they are attached to buildings and other man-made structures. Large colonies in urban areas can also create detrimental cleanliness and health issues for humans. Finally, salmonella can be transmitted through barn swallow feces, posing a threat to livestock that live in close proximity to barn swallow colonies.

How do barn swallows drink?
Skim Water While Flying
Barn swallows drink water by skimming the surface of a body of water while flying.
Absorb Water From Prey
Receive Regurgitated Water
Drink From Still Water Source

To where do European barn swallows migrate?
Africa
European birds winter in sub-Saharan Africa, although some individuals winter in southern and western Europe each year.
South America
Asia
North America

Barn swallows sing individually and as a group.
True
Barn swallows sing, both individually and as a group. Barn swallows have individual songs and often sing as a chorus.
False

Barn swallow chicks are born with feathers.
False
Barn swallows chicks are naked and helpless when they hatch.
True

How do barn swallows defend against predators?
Alarm Calls
Barn swallows usually give alarm calls when predators come near. They mainly escape predators by being swift and agile in flight and by building their nests in places that are difficult for predators to reach.
Swift, Agile Flight
Barn swallows usually give alarm calls when predators come near. They mainly escape predators by being swift and agile in flight and by building their nests in places that are difficult for predators to reach.
Secluded Nests
Barn swallows usually give alarm calls when predators come near. They mainly escape predators by being swift and agile in flight and by building their nests in places that are difficult for predators to reach.
Sharp Talons

What type of carnivore is the barn swallow?
Insectivore
Barn swallows are insectivores and feed almost entirely on flying insects.
Piscivore
Obligate
Sanguinivore

What type of predator is the barn swallow?
Aerial Forager
Barn swallows are aerial foraging insectivores and feed almost entirely on flying insects.
Ambush
Pursuit
Terrestrial Forager

How many broods will a barn swallow have each breeding season?
2
Barn swallows usually raise two broods of chicks each breeding season.
1
5
7

What percentage of barn swallow subspecies are migratory?
66%
Four of the six barn swallow subspecies are strongly migratory, and their wintering grounds cover much of the Southern Hemisphere as far south as central Argentina, the Cape Province of South Africa, and northern Australia.
0%
33%
99%

The barn swallow is hunted for sport.
True
The barn swallow is occasionally hunted for sport.
False

When is the barn swallow’s breeding season?
May-August
The barn swallow’s breeding season is usually from May to August, but this varies greatly with location.
August-November
November-February
February-May

How many eggs are in an average barn swallow clutch?
5
The female barn swallow lays a clutch of two to seven eggs, with an average of five.
2
7
10

Which bird parasitizes barn swallow nests?
Brown-Headed Cowbird
Although incidents of brown-headed cowbirds parasitizing barn swallow nests are rare, they have been documented.
House Sparrow
Osprey
Common Grackle

How many times per day do barn swallows feed their nestlings?
400
During the nestling period, barn swallow parents may feed their nestlings up to 400 times per day.
4
40
4,000

When do barn swallows sexually mature?
1 Year
Young barn swallows are able to breed in the first breeding season after they have hatched.
1 Week
1 Month
3 Months

What encourages barn swallow nesting?
Wooden Ledges
Nesting can be encouraged by providing wooden ledges or artificial nest cups made of cement and sawdust or papier maché.
Cement & Sawdust Nest Cups
Nesting can be encouraged by providing wooden ledges or artificial nest cups made of cement and sawdust or papier maché.
Paper Mache Nest Cups
Nesting can be encouraged by providing wooden ledges or artificial nest cups made of cement and sawdust or papier maché.
Dense Shrubbery

Where are barn swallows more rural?
Europe
The barn swallow is primarily a rural species in Europe and North America, whilst in north Africa and Asia it often breeds in towns and cities.
North America
The barn swallow is primarily a rural species in Europe and North America, whilst in north Africa and Asia it often breeds in towns and cities.
Asia
Africa

The barn swallow is native to all biogeographic regions.
False
Barn swallows are native in all the biogeographic regions except Australia and Antarctica.
True

Un-mated barn swallows are always male.
False
Un-mated barn swallow “helpers” are predominantly male.
True

How do barn swallows benefit other species?
Predator Alarm Calls
Other species are alerted to the presence of predators by barn swallows which give alarm calls when predators are nearby.
Territory Defense
Cooperative Breeding
Foraging Skills

How far will barn swallows forage from their nests?
0.5-1.2 km. / 0.31-0.75 m.
A study in West Virginia found that barn swallows foraged within 1.2 kilometers of their nests. In Europe, barn swallows foraged within 500 meters of their nest.
5-12 m. / 16-39 ft.
50-120 m. / 164-394 ft.
5-12 km. / 3-8 m.

Which barn swallows build the nest?
Mother
Both sexes of barn swallow help build the nest, which measures a cup or half-cup. Un-mated adult helpers may help with nest building.
Father
Both sexes of barn swallow help build the nest, which measures a cup or half-cup. Un-mated adult helpers may help with nest building.
Un-Mated Helper
Both sexes of barn swallow help build the nest, which measures a cup or half-cup. Un-mated adult helpers may help with nest building.
Nestling

The barn swallow is the national bird of which countries?
Austria
The barn swallow is the national bird of Austria and Estonia.
Estonia
The barn swallow is the national bird of Austria and Estonia.
Slovenia
Latvia

What is the average lifespan of a barn swallow?
4 Years
The average lifespan of barn swallows is 4 years. Barn swallows of 8 years of age have been documented, but these are considered the exception.
8 Years
12 Years
16 Years

There is sexual dimorphism in the outer tail-streamers of barn swallows.
True, the female’s is shorter.
Males and females are similar in appearance, though females tend to have shorter outer tail-streamers.
True, the male’s is shorter.
False

Europe forms what percentage of the barn swallow’s global range?
20%
Europe forms approximately 20% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 290,000,000-487,000,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
40%
60%
80%

What prevents the barn swallow from being endangered?
Large Range
Because of its extremely large range and population size and slowly declining population trend, the barn swallow is not endangered.
Large Population Size
Because of its extremely large range and population size and slowly declining population trend, the barn swallow is not endangered.
Slowly Decreasing Population
Because of its extremely large range and population size and slowly declining population trend, the barn swallow is not endangered.
Increasing Population

What do female barn swallows prefer in a mate?
Symmetrical Tails & Wings
Female barn swallows have been documented selecting for symmetrical wings and tails and longer tail feathers in potential mates.
Longer Tails
Female barn swallows have been documented selecting for symmetrical wings and tails and longer tail feathers in potential mates.
Asymmetrical Tails & Wings
Shorter Tails

What threatens barn swallows?
Agriculture
Changes in farming practices and the intensification of agriculture such as the abandonment of traditional milk and beef production have resulted in a loss of suitable barn swallow foraging areas. This can be attributed to a reduction in habitat as the barns and outbuildings which once housed barn swallows, give way to more urban settings. Intensive livestock rearing, improved hygiene, land drainage, and the use of herbicides and pesticides all reduce the numbers of insect prey available.
Habitat Reduction
Changes in farming practices and the intensification of agriculture such as the abandonment of traditional milk and beef production have resulted in a loss of suitable barn swallow foraging areas. This can be attributed to a reduction in habitat as the barns and outbuildings which once housed barn swallows, give way to more urban settings. Intensive livestock rearing, improved hygiene, land drainage, and the use of herbicides and pesticides all reduce the numbers of insect prey available.
Pesticides
Changes in farming practices and the intensification of agriculture such as the abandonment of traditional milk and beef production have resulted in a loss of suitable barn swallow foraging areas. This can be attributed to a reduction in habitat as the barns and outbuildings which once housed barn swallows, give way to more urban settings. Intensive livestock rearing, improved hygiene, land drainage, and the use of herbicides and pesticides all reduce the numbers of insect prey available.
Hunting

How do barn swallows contribute to the ecosystem?
Control Insect Populations
Barn swallows eat an enormous amount of insects and are very important in the control of their populations. They are quite effective in reducing insect pest populations. Barn swallows are also a useful food source for many predators. Barn swallows can also serve as an indicator or trigger organism, indicating possible environmental trouble, as declines in their relatively abundant numbers may precede other more obvious effects of environmental stress.
Predator Food Source
Barn swallows eat an enormous amount of insects and are very important in the control of their populations. They are quite effective in reducing insect pest populations. Barn swallows are also a useful food source for many predators. Barn swallows can also serve as an indicator or trigger organism, indicating possible environmental trouble, as declines in their relatively abundant numbers may precede other more obvious effects of environmental stress.
Environmental Indicator
Barn swallows eat an enormous amount of insects and are very important in the control of their populations. They are quite effective in reducing insect pest populations. Barn swallows are also a useful food source for many predators. Barn swallows can also serve as an indicator or trigger organism, indicating possible environmental trouble, as declines in their relatively abundant numbers may precede other more obvious effects of environmental stress.
Reduce Disease

How large is a barn swallow colony’s territory?
4-8 m.2 | 13-26 ft.2
Within a colony, barn swallows defend a territory around their nest. In European barn swallows, these territories range in size from about 4 to 8 square meters.
14-18 m.2 | 46-59 ft.2
40-80 m.2 | 131-262 ft.2
400-800 m.2 | 1,312-2,625 ft.2

What can help conserve barn swallows?
Traditional Farming
Large areas of suitable habitat need to be maintained for this species, through the continuation and promotion of low-intensity, traditional farming. In particular, this requires extensive livestock rearing, a reduction in pesticide use and the preservation of wetland areas and waterbodies. Long-term monitoring and further research into the impacts of climatic variation is also needed.
Livestock Rearing
Large areas of suitable habitat need to be maintained for this species, through the continuation and promotion of low-intensity, traditional farming. In particular, this requires extensive livestock rearing, a reduction in pesticide use and the preservation of wetland areas and waterbodies. Long-term monitoring and further research into the impacts of climatic variation is also needed.
Wetland Preservation
Large areas of suitable habitat need to be maintained for this species, through the continuation and promotion of low-intensity, traditional farming. In particular, this requires extensive livestock rearing, a reduction in pesticide use and the preservation of wetland areas and waterbodies. Long-term monitoring and further research into the impacts of climatic variation is also needed.
Pesticides

Barn swallows will nest anywhere with what features?
Foraging Areas
Barn swallows can nest anywhere with open areas for foraging, a water source, and a sheltered ledge.
Water Source
Barn swallows can nest anywhere with open areas for foraging, a water source, and a sheltered ledge.
Sheltered Ledge
Barn swallows can nest anywhere with open areas for foraging, a water source, and a sheltered ledge.
Proximity to Humans

What causes asymmetry in barn swallows?
Genetics
Asymmetry can result from genetic factors such as inbreeding or mutations as well as from environmental stress such as food deficiency, parasite infestation, or the presence of pathogens. Asymmetry of physical characteristics in barn swallows tends to be transmitted to the young in distinct parent to offspring patterns. Tail asymmetry tends to pass from father to son and from mother to daughter.
Food Deficiency
Asymmetry can result from genetic factors such as inbreeding or mutations as well as from environmental stress such as food deficiency, parasite infestation, or the presence of pathogens. Asymmetry of physical characteristics in barn swallows tends to be transmitted to the young in distinct parent to offspring patterns. Tail asymmetry tends to pass from father to son and from mother to daughter.
Parasites
Asymmetry can result from genetic factors such as inbreeding or mutations as well as from environmental stress such as food deficiency, parasite infestation, or the presence of pathogens. Asymmetry of physical characteristics in barn swallows tends to be transmitted to the young in distinct parent to offspring patterns. Tail asymmetry tends to pass from father to son and from mother to daughter.
Dehydration

How much did you know about the barn swallow? Share your results in the comments!

Learn More About the Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

In Anglophone Europe, the barn swallow is simply called the “swallow” and in Nothern Europe, it’s the only common species called a “swallow” rather than a “martin.”

In Anglophone Europe, the barn swallow is just called the swallow. In Northern Europe, it is the only common species called a swallow rather than a martin.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Gill & Wright, 2006; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2019)

 

Learn More About the Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn swallows are diurnal.

Barn swallows are diurnal.


Image | © Bernard DUPONT, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sources | (Hebblethwaite & Shields, 1990; Moller, 1991; Roth, 2002)

 

Learn More About the Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Six subspecies of the barn swallow are generally recognized.

Six subspecies of the barn swallow are generally recognized, all of which breed across the Northern Hemisphere. Four are strongly migratory, and their wintering grounds cover much of the Southern Hemisphere as far south as central Argentina, the Cape Province of South Africa, and northern Australia.

In eastern Asia, a number of additional or alternative forms have been proposed, including saturata by Robert Ridgway in 1883, kamtschatica by Benedykt Dybowski in 1883, ambigua by Erwin Stresemann, and mandschurica by Wilhelm Meise in 1934. There are uncertainties over the validity of these forms.

H. r. rustica, the nominate European subspecies, breeds in Europe and Asia, as far north as the Arctic Circle, south to North Africa, the Middle East and Sikkim, and east to the Yenisei River. It migrates on a broad front to winter in Africa, Arabia, and the Indian subcontinent. The barn swallows wintering in southern Africa are from across Eurasia to at least 91°E, and have been recorded as covering up to 11,660 kilometers (7,250 miles) on their annual migration. The nominate European subspecies was the first to have its genome sequenced and published.

H. r. transitiva was described by Ernst Hartert in 1910. It breeds in the Middle East from southern Turkey to Israel and is partially resident, though some birds winter in East Africa. It has orange red underparts and a broken breast band.

H. r. savignii, the resident Egyptian subspecies, was described by James Stephens in 1817 and named for French zoologist Marie Jules César Savigny. It resembles transitiva, which also has orange-red underparts, but savignii has a complete broad breast band and deeper red hue to the underparts.

H. r. gutturalis, described by Giovanni Antonio Scopoli in 1786, has whitish underparts and a broken breast band. Breast chestnut and lower underparts more pink-buff. The populations that breed in the central and eastern Himalayas have been included in this subspecies, although the primary breeding range is Japan and Korea. The east Asian breeders winter across tropical Asia from India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and New Guinea. Increasing numbers are wintering in Australia. It hybridises with H. r. tytleri in the Amur River area. It is thought that the two eastern Asia forms were once geographically separate, but the nest sites provided by expanding human habitation allowed the ranges to overlap.

H. r. gutturalis is a vagrant to Alaska and Washington, but is easily distinguished from the North American breeding subspecies, H. r. erythrogaster, by the latter’s reddish underparts.

H. r. tytleri, first described by Thomas Jerdon in 1864, and named for British soldier, naturalist and photographer Robert Christopher Tytler, has deep orange-red underparts and an incomplete breast band. The tail is also longer. It breeds in central Siberia south to northern Mongolia and winters from eastern Bengal east to Thailand and Malaysia.

H. r. erythrogaster, the North American subspecies described by Pieter Boddaert in 1783, differs from the European subspecies in having redder underparts and a narrower, often incomplete, blue breast band. It breeds throughout North America, from Alaska to southern Mexico, and migrates to the Lesser Antilles, Costa Rica, Panama and South America to winter. A few may winter in the southernmost parts of the breeding range. This subspecies funnels through Central America on a narrow front and is therefore abundant on passage in the lowlands of both coasts.

The short wings, red belly, and incomplete breast band of H. r. tytleri are also found in H. r. erythrogaster, and DNA analyses show that barn swallows from North America colonised the Baikal region of Siberia, a dispersal direction opposite to that for most changes in distribution between North America and Eurasia.


Image | © Bernard DUPONT, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sources | (Dekker, 2003; Dickinson & Dekker, 2001; Dickinson, Eck, & Milensky, 2002; Formenti, et al., 2019; Hilty, 2003; Moller, June 1994, July 1994; Rasmussen & Anderton, 2005; Roth, 2002; Sibley, 2007; Stiles & Skutch, 2003; Svensson, Mullarney, & Zetterstrom, 2010; Terres, 1991; Turner & Rose, 1989; Vaurie, 1951; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2019; Zink, Pavlova, Rohwer, & Drovetski, 2006)

 

Learn More About the Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

As FaunaFocus approaches the end of the year, the barn swallow will be featured throughout the month of November 2019.

The barn swallow is the most widespread swallow species and can be found in close proximity to humans all around the world. These small, distinctive, passerine birds are aerial foragers and catch their insectivorous prey while flying. Socially monogamous, they build nests and raise young in large colonies.

 

GET INVOLVED

Create art inspired by the barn swallow and share it in the FaunaFocus Discord Server or on social media with #faunafocus. Learn about more ways to get involved with FaunaFocus!
 

EVENTS
Event Date Time (CST)
Holiday Art Trade Sign-Up Deadline November 16 12:00 pm
Holiday Art Trade Begins November 17
Digital CreateAlong November 16 7:00 pm
Free-For-All: Deadline November 26 12:00 pm
Free-For-All: Livestream November 27 7:00 pm

 


Image | © Stan Lupo, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

FFA
Judges
Noelle M. Brooks Robin Pren
Date October 2019 Theme Leopard
Entries 8 Winner Sarah

FaunaFocus featured the leopard throughout the month of October 2019 and 8 artists submitted artwork to the Free-For-All!

Congratulations to the winner, Sarah, who submitted an Egyptian-inspired composition featuring Mafdet, the Egyptian goddess of judgement, justice, and execution. This digital illustration wowed the judges with its excellently composed composition, painted details, and overall concept.

Sarah will be selecting December 2019’s FaunaFocus which will be announced at the end of November 2019’s Free-For-All. Last month’s Free-For-All winner, H. McGill has selected the barn swallow for November 2019’s FaunaFocus!


FaunaFocus Calendar | Free-For-All | Free-For-All Archives

Leopard

Leopard

Leopards are host to many common felid parasites, including lung flukes, flat worms, spirurian nematodes, hookworms, lung worms, intestinal and hepatic parasites, and parasitic protozoa.

Leopards are host to many common felid parasites, including lung flukes (Paragominus westermani), flat worms (Pseudophyllidea), spirurian nematodes (Spiruroidea), hookworms (Ancylostomatidae), lung worms (Aelurostrongylus), intestinal and hepatic parasites (Capillaria), and parasitic protozoa (Sarcocystis).


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Hunt, 2011; Macaskill, 2009; Patton & Rabinowitz, 1994)

 

Learn More About the Leopard

Stock

The holiday season is approaching and FaunaFocus wants to spread the cheer!

Throughout the months of November and December, FaunaFocus will be hosting a Holiday Art Trade and all are welcome to join! Surprise someone with an animal-themed artwork of their choice and receive an artwork yourself, “Secret Santa” style!

 

GET INVOLVED
  1. Sign Up: Submit your information using the form below by Saturday, November 16th.
  2. Receive Email: On Sunday, November 17th, you’ll receive an email with the name of the person you’ll be creating artwork for and the animal to feature in the art. Please keep this information private until the artwork is complete.
  3. Create Art: Create artwork featuring the requested animal that abides by the rules.
  4. Give Art: Post the completed artwork to the FaunaFocus Discord Server in the #holiday-art-trade channel, tagging the person it was created for, any time before the deadline.
  5. Receive Art: Check the FaunaFocus Discord Server for the artwork created for you!

 

RULES

Traded artworks must abide by the following rules.

  1. Eligibility: All artists, media, and art forms are eligible.
  2. Theme: Artworks must feature the requested animal. If multiple animals were requested, only one is required.
  3. Originality: Artworks must be of original construction and must not copy another source or violate any copyrights.
  4. Tasteful Intent: Artworks should not have negative intentions or contain excessive gore, violence, nudity, profanity, etc.
  5. Anonymity: Don’t reveal the person you were assigned until the artwork is completed and posted.
  6. Deadline: All artworks must be submitted to the FaunaFocus Discord Server in the #holiday-art-trade channel by 12:00pm (noon) Central Standard Time on Sunday, January 1st, 2020. Artworks may be gifted early.

 

SIGN UP

Submit the following information to participate in the FaunaFocus Holiday Art Trade!
The deadline to sign up is 12:00pm (noon) Central Standard Time  on Saturday, November 16th, 2019.

Leopard

Leopard

Wild leopards average 10-12 years, the oldest being 17 years, but captive leopards average 21-23 years, the oldest having lived 27 years.

Wild leopards may live to be 10 to 12 years old, with the oldest known individual being 17 years old.

In captivity, leopards can live to be 21 to 23 years old, with the oldest known individual being 27 years old.

Survival rates for cubs range from 41% to 50%.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Guggisberg, 1975; Hunter and Hinde, 2005)

 

Learn More About the Leopard

Leopard

Leopard

Similar to other mammalian species, the home ranges of male leopards are larger and tend to overlap with those of multiple females.

Similar to other mammalian species, the home ranges of male leopards are larger and tend to overlap with those of multiple females. Home ranges also tend to be larger in arid conditions.

Male leopards have a core range of about 12 kilometers squared, with a home range of about 35 kilometers squared. Females have a core range of about 4 kilometers squared with a home range of about 13 kilometers squared.

In Namibia, the home ranges of males overlapped 46% of the time and those of females overlapped about 35% of the time.


Image | © Michael Jansen, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (African Wildlife Foundation, 2009; Hunt, 2011; Stander, Haden, Kaqece, 1997)

 

Learn More About the Leopard

Leopard

Leopard

Many of the leopard’s predator characteristics also serve as defense mechanisms, such as its spots that allow it to travel inconspicuously and avoid detection.

Many of the characteristics that make leopards great predators also serve as excellent predator defense mechanisms. For example, a leopard’s spots allows it to travel inconspicuously and avoid detection.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (African Wildlife Foundation, 2009; Hunt, 2011)

 

Learn More About the Leopard

Leopard

Leopard

Leopards are economically important for humans as they can be seen in national parks throughout Asia and Africa.

Lions (Panthera leo), tigers (Panthera tigris), spotted hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta), and African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) compete with leopards for food. Leopards are economically important for humans as they can be seen in national parks throughout Asia and Africa.


Image | © Cloudtail the Snow Leopard, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Hunt, 2011)

 

Learn More About the Leopard

Leopard

Leopard

Lions, tigers, spotted hyaenas, and African wild dogs compete with leopards for food and are capable of killing leopards.

Lions (Panthera leo), tigers (Panthera tigris), spotted hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta), and African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) compete with leopards for food. These species also prey upon leopard cubs and are capable of killing adult leopards. Typically, when an adult is killed it is due to a territorial confrontation.

When competition for larger prey items is high, leopards prey on smaller animals, which reduces interspecific competition. They also avoid attacks from potential predators by hunting at different times of the day and avoiding areas where potential predators are most populous.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (African Wildlife Foundation, 2009; Hunt, 2011; Macaskill, 2009; Patton & Rabinowitz, 1994)

 

Learn More About the Leopard