Hirundo rustica


Swallows are common summer visitors, arriving in April and leaving in October. They build mud and straw nests on ledges, often in farm buildings and outhouses or under the eaves of houses. Swallows are widespread and common birds of farmland and open pasture near water. They are agile fliers, feeding on flying insects while on the wing. Before they migrate back to their wintering grounds in Africa they can be seen gathering to roost in wetlands, particularly reedbeds.

How to identify

Swallows are glossy, dark blue-black above, white below with a dark red forehead and throat and a black band across the chest. The forked tail is very long. Often spotted perching on wires in small numbers.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

Swallows have suffered declines in recent years due to habitat loss in both their breeding and wintering grounds. To keep populations of swallows and other birds healthy, The Wildlife Trusts are working towards a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Hirundo rustica
Swallows, martins, swifts and nightjars
Length: 19-22cm Wingspan: 34cm Weight: 19g Average Lifespan: 2 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.