Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

The barn swallow, Hirundo rustica, is widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere during its breeding season. It migrates southward into Central America, South America, Africa, and southern Asia for winter. The species is a common breeder in Utah, where it prefers open habitats. Barn swallows build nests on rafters in barns and other buildings, under bridges, and on cliffs. Individuals commonly return to same breeding area each year, and may even re-use their old nests.

Females generally lay two clutches of four or five eggs each year; eggs hatch in 13 to 17 days, and the young, which fledge after an additional 18 to 23 days, are tended by both parents. The barn swallow typically eats insects that it catches while in flight.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.