Swallows have dark glossy blue backs, red throats, pale under parts and long distinctive tail streamers. The shape of the tail is important, as it is an indicator of status for the females to choose a male, they will choose the most symmetrical tail for a mate.
They are extremely agile in flight and spend most of their time on the wing. They arrive in Britain in late March, and depart in mid / late October. Swallows are found in areas where there is a ready and accessible supply of small insects. They are particularly fond of open pasture with access to water and quiet farm buildings. See our Swallow nest bowl.
Recent declines due to loss of habitat quality in both their breeding and wintering grounds mean they are an Amber List species.
The swallows have a cosmopolitan distribution across the world and breed on all the continents except Antarctica. There are numerous species, besides the one that frequents Britain.
Open country, usually near water, farmland
Status in UK
Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor
Conservation Status UK
Number in Britain
Number of broods
First clutches laid
Age at First Breeding
Maximum Recorded Age
11 years, 1 month