The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Barn Swallow

Afrikaans name: Europese swael

Barn Swallow on a barbed wire fence

Photo © Steven Herbert

Hirundo rustica

The Barn Swallow is a common and widespread swallow. It is found in South and North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia. It used to be called the European Swallow in South Africa.

This migrant bird has a wingspan of just over 30 cm and weighs around 20 grams.

The Barn Swallow mainly feeds on insects that it catches in flight. It does occasionally take food off the ground.

In our South African winter they return to Europe to breed. They make a nest out of mud and it is normally placed under the roof over hang of a building. They may lay up to 7 eggs.

Mount Moreland, just north of Durban, is a great place to see these birds before they migrate back to Europe.

References and further reading

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 54

Wild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 43

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 140

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 57

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Published: 1987 - Page: 67

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 177

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1979 - Page: 31

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 204

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 294

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 282

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 73

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 448

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 10

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 261

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 338

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 347

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 454

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 232

Meeting with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1986 - Page: 61

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 232

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 411

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 206

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 52

Common Birds of the North Coast - Author: Bing Comrie - Published: 2005 - Page: 55

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 32

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 144

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Published: 2004 - Page: 183

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 86

Geoff Lockwoods Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Published: 0 - Page: 120

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 149

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 83

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 169

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 185

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 116

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 65

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 202

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 83

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 83

BirdLife South Africa


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