Friday, August 13, 2021

Barn Swallow

I've seen and photographed a couple of barn swallows previously, but nothing to the extent that I did last weekend at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah when I encountered hundreds of migrating swallows. 
A beautiful male. Note the little bit of a blue line on the chest and the deep, beautiful and changing blue on the head, back and tail. 
Barn swallows are found all over the world and their are six subspecies. One subspecies (H. r. erythrogaster) is found in North America. 
A female or juvenile with lighter and less glossy blue and paler underparts. 

In the North American subspecies, the adult males have: a blue back, wings and tail, but the color changes with the angle of light; underparts which vary from pale cinnamon, tawny to bright cinnamon with a narrow or incomplete blue band across the chest; and a rusty throat and forehead. The tail is deeply forked with a white band across it. The female looks similar to the male, but the tail streamers are shorter, the blue on the upperparts and breast is less glossy and the underparts are paler. Juveniles are browner, have a paler rufous face and whiter underparts and also lack the long tail streamers. 
A beautiful male with larger blue markings on the chest. 

A female

Compared to the nominate European subspecies, our North American subspecies has redder underparts and as indicated above, a narrower, often incomplete, blue band across the breast. 

The range on the map below is from Wikipedia. Green is year-round, yellow is summer and blue is winter. The ranges were developed from observations submitted to eBird. 

1 comment:

  1. I have never thought of starlings as anything but a dull brown. This is so surprising. What beautiful colors.