Swallows
 

From the family -Hirundinidae

There is this group of slim birds doing acrobatic in the air, most times a few or flock of them. They could be Swifts, Swallows, martins or even Tree-swift. In this page, I am dealing with Swallows! These are small birds with dark glossy-blue backs, red-throats and pale under part. Then, sharply pointed tails, angled winged and some times even with forked tails. Some come with streamers at the end of the tail. These birds comes under the family Hirundininae, which they share with the Martins. The Martins belong to same grouping with the variations that the Martins have squarer tails. There should be 75 different types of Swallows in the whole world.

Swallow spending most of their time on the wings, usually move around swiftly in circles or acrobatically within a small confine of air space. Single or in flocks picking up the tiny insects [ bees, houseflies. hoverflies, blue bottles, and even moths] flying and sharing the same air space. The flight may be fast, reaching speed of 50-65 km/hr. and involve a rapid succession of turns and banks when chasing fast moving preys. Then most times leisurely with a lower speed of 30-40km/hr, flying in circles, switching over to bursts of flapping mixed with gliding.  Their slender, streamlined body shaped coupled with long pointed wings are designed for efficient flight which is almost half the efforts needed when compared to other passerines of the same size. They too, when the situation is right pick the prey off branches or on the ground. Each bird could consume up to 6,000 bugs a day to stay alive.

Swallows have short legs with their feet adapted for perching rather than walking, But Swallows could walk and even run when needed. Swallows are small birds, like all other birds, they have their repertoire of calls. Like those of fledglings begging for food, alarm with predators nearby and mating calls etc. Then there is a long continuous soft murmuring call, attracting mate or presumably checking on the condition of the birds.

With lots of swallows in the air, it is not surprising there are birds of different species, hovering at different altitude from the ground depending on the type of prey that each species are targeting.

When they are seen often in the air and perching on electric wire, where do the bird nest? Many species build their nest from mud on vertical walls.

There are 12 species of Swallows and Martin seen in South-East Asia. I have not make any effort in locating the Martins and so on this page there only 4 species of Swallows that I collected. The 2 are exceptionally common while the other pair needed some efforts to locate

 

Martins

  1. Asian House-Martin  
       
  2.Dusky Crag-Martin  
       

Swallows

 

  1. Bank Swallow  
       
  2. Barn Swallow  
       
  3. Pacific Swallow  
       
  4. Red-rumped Swallow  
       
  5. Rufous-bellied Swallow  
       

 

Though a bird most seen anywhere, these birds are ignored as they are small and not colorful. I am no exception but I learned to like them as they are the birds that would always be there even when bird life is low. The sad point is that the birds seen are either Barn or Pacific. Even though I am keen to collect bird pictures, soon I am having enough of stock. On the contrary, I am still waiting for more chances of meeting up with the Red-rumped Swallows. A species we do not get to see often.

I am still looking for opportunity with the Rufous-bellied Swallow as their flight is graceful and I still need more pictures of that. Unfortunately, sightings of this species is also seasonal.

 

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