Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
(Cliff Swallow)


Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Hirundinidae
Family Description: Swallows

Physical Description:
5-6" (13-15 cm). Dark brown to black above with buffClick word for definition forehead, chestnut neck, and cinnamon rump; buff below. Tail slightly forked, but often appears square.

Similar Species- Cave Swallow, young Barn Swallows

Song:
Loud churr or chew notes.

Distribution:
Breeds from Alaska and portions of Canada, south to central Mexico, western Texas, Missouri, and portions of southeastern United Staes. Winters in South America.

Habitat:
Found in open to semi- wooded habitat (such as cliffs, canyons, and farms) near meadows, marshes, and water.

Diet:
Primarily insectivorousClick word for definition; often feeds on small, swarming insects. Eats beetles, flying ants, wasps, grasshoppers, mosquitoes, and other insects.

Ecology:
gregariousClick word for definition at all seasons. Constructs nest on cliff, or under bridge, culvert, or eaves. Nests in colonies of up to 1000+ individuals (few hundred is average). Catches prey in air. Forages usually within 0.5 km of colony, but will sometimes travel several kilometers. Periodically, populations may decline drastically due to prolonged spring or summer rains and reduced food availability. Parasitic swallow bug is sometimes abundant enought to reduce reproductive success in large colonies.

Reproduction
Both parents incubateClick word for definition 2-6 eggs (usually 3-5), for about 12-14 days. Young are tended by both parents, and are able to fly at 23 days. Female usually produces 1 broodClick word for definition/year; a few have a second brood.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPAU09010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.


Photo by Fred Fallon, 2002
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.