Tree Swallow

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Tachycineta bicolor

Tree Swallow

The Tree Swallow is a streamlined small songbird with long, pointed wings and a short, squared or slightly notched tail. Its bill is very short and flat.

Both sexes measure about 4.7 - 5.9 inches in length, with a wingspan of 11.8 - 13.8 inches and weight of around 16 - 25 grams.

Adult males are blue-green above and white below with blackish flight feathers and a thin black eye mask.

Females are duller with more brown in their upperparts.

Juveniles are completely brown above.

Juveniles and some females can show a weak, blurry gray-brown breast band.

CALL: Mates call to each other with the same chirps and gurgles that also appear in their songs. They also give aggressive chatters, shrieking alarm calls, harsh distress calls, and amorous ticking sounds.

SONG: High-pitched and liquid, composed of 3 sounds—a chirp, a whine, and a gurgle—which they mix and match in a variety of patterns. Both males and females sing.

Feeds primarily on flying insects, but also plant materials (20% of their diet). Insects include flies, beetles, and ants, though mayflies, caddis flies, spiders and grasshoppers are also common preys.

During bad weather when prey is scarce, it feeds on vegetation, including bayberries and other plants seeds.

Lives in open areas near water, such as fields, marshes, meadows, shorelines, ponds and wooded swamps. It needs dead trees, or excavated holes in live trees, because it is a cavity nester.

Breeds in Central and Northern America. Winters in southern North America, Florida, along the Caribbean coast of Central America.

The female builds the nest in a cavity in dead or live tree, or in hollow stumps over water. It is made of grasses, mosses, rootlets and aquatic plants, and lined with feathers from other species.

She lays 2 - 8 white eggs, and Incubates for about 11 - 19 days.


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