Violet-green Swallow

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Tachycineta thalassina

Violet-green Swallow

The Violet-green Swallow is a small sleek bird with long pointed wings and slightly forked tail. Its wingtips extend beyond its short tail, which is especially noticeable when perched.

Both sexes measure about 4.72 - 5.12 inches in length, with a wingspan of 10.6 inches and weighs about 14 - 16 grams.

Adult males have green mantle, scapulars and back, whereas the uppertail-coverts are violet-blue. There is an extensive white patch on each side of the rump, making the bird almost white-rumped in flight.

The long, pointed wings are black. The black tail shows a shallow fork. Underparts are white, except for the pale gray underwing-coverts. Forehead, crown and nape are green, with violet wash on the nape. Head sides are white, including the eye’s area.

The small, pointed bill is black. Eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are pinkish to blackish.

Females are duller, with browner to bronze head.

Juveniles are browner, mostly grayish- brown above and white below with pink legs and feet.

It gives a high “dee-chip” in flight. It also has a series of varying tweet notes used in courtship and territorial behaviors. Contact call between the members of a group is “chee-chee”.

Feeds on flying insects such as flies, leafhoppers, leafbugs, aphids, beetles, and winged ants that they catch and eat in midair.

They skim low over water bodies and fields snatching up insects, but they also forage high above the ground.

Breed in open woodlands including deciduous, evergreen, and mixed species woodlands, especially where old cavity- filled trees occur. They also frequent lakes and streams where they forage for flying insects.

Found in Central Alaska and Western Canada, South in Western USA to Southern Arizona and Southern New Mexico.

It winters in Baja California South to Northern Nicaragua.

It is a cavity nester and uses a variety of natural cavities such as old woodpecker holes, tree holes, rock crevices but also artificial bird houses. In Mexico, it often nests in holes in giant cactus.

The cup-shaped nest is built by both adults but mainly by the female. It is made with grass, twigs and rootlets, and lined with feathers.

The female lays 4 - 6 white eggs and incubates alone during 13 - 18 days.


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