Bank Swallow

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Riparia riparia

Bank Swallow

The Bank Swallow is a small swallow with a chunky body, large head, relatively short pointed wings and a slightly forked tail.

Adults measure about 4.7 - 5.5 inches in length, with a wingspan of 9.8 - 13 inches and weight of 10.2 - 18.8 grams.

It is a small brown-and white swallow. Adults have brownish to gray-brown upperparts. Feathers have pale tips in fresh plumage. Upperwing, tail, flight feathers and retrices are dark brown with indistinct green sheen. Their tail is slightly notched.

The white underparts contrasts with a broad brown breast band, sometimes extending down the center of their belly. Underwing coverts are dark brown. Bill, short legs and feet are dark brown to blackish. The eyes are brown.

Males and females are similar.

Juveniles have pale fringes to upperpart’s feathers. Breast band is less conspicuous. Lores, cheeks, neck sides and chin to breast are washed reddish-brown to buff. Lower underparts are tinged buff or cream. Bill and legs are browner than in adults.

CALL: Contact calls include dry, hard “prrit” or “prrip”, and disyllabic “pritit” notes. Alarm calls include both high- pitched and low-pitched notes.

SONG: A quiet, hoarse twitter, similar to a rapid series of contact calls.

Food consists of small insects, mostly gnats and other flies whose early stages are aquatic.

Found near water. Breeds along coasts, rivers, near lakes, mainly in lowlands and open country, and even close to human habitations.

Found in North America from Alaska and Canada to Texas and Northeastern Mexico.
Winters in South America.

It is also found in Eurasia, from Ireland to Central Asia.
Winters in Africa.

The male dig burrows that will lead to a nest chamber, the female then builds most of the nest itself by constructing a flat mat of straw, grasses, leaves or rootlets.

She lays 4 - 5 white eggs, but the clutch size decreases from north to south.

Both sexes share the incubation during 14 - 15 days, with female incubating at night. The male lacks the brood patch, but it may perform about half of incubation.


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