Swallow - Hirundo rustica

Alternative names
Barn Swallow

Swallows are small birds with dark glossy blue backs, red throats; pale under parts and long distinctive tail streamers. They are extremely agile in flight and spend most of their time on the wing. They are widespread breeding birds in the Northern Hemisphere, migrating south in winter. Recent declines due to loss of habitat quality in both their breeding and wintering grounds mean they are an Amber List species.

Identification difficulty

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. Large reed beds in late summer and early autumn can be good places to look for pre-migration roosts.

When to see it

March to October.

Life History

It builds a cup nest from mud pellets in barns or similar structures and feeds on insects caught in flight.

UK Status

Widespread as a summer visitor in Britain

VC55 Status

A common summer visitor and breeding bird in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map