Tachycineta thalassina
(Violet-green Swallow)


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

Physical Description:
5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm). Green crownClick word for definition and back often overlaid with a purple gloss in males; white face and underparts; bronze wings; white rump; dark bronze, slightly forked tail.

Similar Species- White-throated Swift, Tree Swallow

Song:
High, whistled dee-chip.

Distribution:
Breeds from portions of Alaska and western Canada, south through Montana and portions of Great Plains to southern baja California and northern mainland of Mexico; also breeds south through Colorado to western Texas. Winters from portions of California, south through interior Mexico to portions of Central America.

Habitat:
Found in open forest (coniferousClick word for definition, deciduousClick word for definition or mixed), and in woodlands (primarily in highlands, but frequently at low elevations in northern range). During migrationClick word for definition and in winter, also found in meadows, fields and watercourses, more commonly in highland regions.

Diet:
Feeds on flying insects (e.g., flies, leafhoppers, ants, wasps, bees, beetles, moths, midges, and mayflies).

Ecology:
Forages over ponds, fields, and wooded areas, catching prey in flight. May occasionally forage on ground, on accumulations of insects. Nests in cavity in tree. May form loose nesting colonies if nest sites are abundant. Arizona study found 2.5-15 breeding pairs/40 ha in northern part of state; up to 50 pairs/40 ha in thinned forest with added nest boxes.

Reproduction:
Eggs are laid May to early July in southern range; egg laying begins in late May in north. Female incubatesClick word for definition 4-5 eggs (sometimes 6 in northern range; fewer in south), for 13-15 days. altricialClick word for definition nestlings are tended by both parents, and leave nest in 23-25 days. Female usually produces 1 broodClick word for definition/season, although 2 broods/season have been reported in Oregon.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPAU03040
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5B,NZN

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


Photo by George Jameson, ©2002.
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.