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andorinha das chaminés. barn swallow. Hirundo rustica

Hirundo rustica


A bird with long, pointed wings and a deeply forked tail, with two very elongated outer tail feathers. The eyes are black, the beak is small and thin and the legs, dark in colour, are short. The back and upperparts are black, with bluish highlights, contrasting with the whitish underparts. The forehead and throat are reddish and the chest has a bluish-black stripe. In flight, it is possible to observe the white markings on the tail feathers. In juveniles the forehead and throat are brownish and the retrices are shorter and rounder. Females tend to be less vibrantly coloured and have shorter retrices.



There are eight subspecies of Barn Swallow, with the nominal subspecies Hirundo rustica rustica occurring in Portugal.

Scientific Name Transcription

'Hirundo' is of Latin origin and means  'swallow', while 'rustica', also of Latin origin, means 'rural'.

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32 to 34 cm

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17 to 20 g

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4 to 5 EGGS


Distribution and Ecology

Summer species in North America, Europe, North Africa and Asia; wintering species in South America, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Northern Australia; and with some resident populations in the Mediterranean basin, North Africa, Central America and South Asia. Being the most widely distributed swallow species in the world. In Portugal, occurs between January and October and is distributed throughout the territory, preferring humanized areas near water lines, meadows and wetlands. Although this species does not form large flocks as other swallows, it is possible to observe large post-nuptial concentrations at the end of summer in dormitories, mainly in reed beds.



Although the Barn Swallow maintains the conservation status of Least Concern (LC) in Portugal, as well as at European and international levels, the latest revisions to the conservation status in Spain and the United Kingdom place this species with the status of Vulnerable (VU). The modernisation and standardisation of agricultural practices has limited the success of this species whose numbers have been declining considerably in recent decades.

linha de horizonte de Portugal. Portugal skyline
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andorinha-das-rochas. crag martin. ptyonoprogne rupestris

Eurasian Crag Martin

andorinha das chaminés. barn swallow. hirundo rustica
andorinha dáurica. red rumped swallow. cecropis daurica.

Red-rumped Swallow

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