Tachycineta bicolor
(Tree Swallow)


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

Physical Description:
5-6" (13-15 cm). Males have metallic blue to blue-green above and white below. Females are brown above. Have a slightly notched tail.

Similar Species- Violet-green, Bank, and Northern Rough-winged swallows.

Song:
Liquid twew-twew-twew variations.

Distribution:
Breeds from western Alaska to Newfoundland, south to southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, and east to portions of southeastern United States. Winters primarily from southern California and extreme southern U.S., south through Mexico to portions of Central America.

Habitat:
Found in open situations near water, including streams, lakes, ponds, marshes and coastal regions, savannas, and pastures.

Diet:
Eats insects and spiders. Occasionally eats some seeds and fruits.

Ecology:
Forages in air or on ground. Nests in cavity in standing snag. Nests alone or in loose colony. Many individuals may congregate where food is abundant, or form roostsClick word for definition when weather is cold. When not breeding, flocks may contain thousands of individuals.

Reproduction:
Egg are laid late April to late June in southern range, and early May to mid-June in north. Female (typically) incubatesClick word for definition 4-6 eggs for 13-16 days. Nestlings are altricialClick word for definition and downy. Young are tended by both sexes, leave nest 16-24 days after hatching, and receive little parental care after that. Species is generally monogamousClick word for definition, but sometimes polygynousClick word for definition if food is superabundant. Inclement weather and resulting scarcity of food may result in high nestling mortalityClick word for definition in some years.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPAU03010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5B,N5N

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


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