RSPB
Skip navigation

Conservation status: Amber

Swallows are small birds with dark, glossy-blue backs, red throats, pale underparts and long tail streamers. They are extremely agile in flight and spend most of their time on the wing. They are widespread breeding birds in the Northern Hemisphere, migrating south in winter.

Swallow numbers in the UK have fluctuated over the last 30 years with pronounced regional variation in trends. The species is amber listed due to population declines across Europe.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Hirundo rustica

Family

Swallows and martins (Hirundinidae)

Where to see them

Swallows are found in areas where there is a ready and accessible supply of small insects. They are particularly fond of open pasture with access to water and quiet farm buildings. Large reedbeds in late summer and early autumn can be good places to look for pre-migration roosts.

When to see them

March to October.

What they eat

A range of small invertebrates.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-860,000 territories--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Tomas Belka, Xeno-canto