The Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) is a migratory passerine bird that breeds in North America and winters in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.
This swallow averages 13.5 cm (5.3 in) long and weighs about 20 g (0.71 oz). The bill is tiny. The adult Tree Swallow has iridescent blue-green upperparts, white underparts, and a very slightly forked tail. The female usually has duller colors than the male, often more greenish than the more bluish male. The juvenile plumage is dull grey-brown above and may have a hint of a gray breast band. [Wikipedia]
Handsome aerialists with deep-blue iridescent backs and clean white fronts, Tree Swallows, are a familiar sight in summer fields and wetlands across northern North America. They chase after flying insects with acrobatic twists and turns, their steely blue-green feathers flashing in the sunlight. Tree Swallows nest in tree cavities; they also readily take up residence in nest boxes. This habit has allowed scientists to study their breeding biology in detail and makes them a great addition to many a homeowner’s yard or field. [All About Birds]
Tree Swallow Facts [All About Birds]
- Tree Swallows have helped researchers make major advances in several branches of ecology, and they are among the best-studied bird species in North America. Still, we know little about their lives during migration and winter.
- The Tree Swallow—which is most often seen in open, treeless areas—gets its name from its habit of nesting in tree cavities. They also take readily to nest boxes.
- Tree Swallows winter farther north than any other American swallows and return to their nesting grounds long before other swallows come back. They can eat plant foods as well as their normal insect prey, which helps them survive the cold snaps and wintry weather of early spring.
- The oldest Tree Swallow on record was at least 12 years, 1 month old when it was recaptured and released during banding operations in Ontario in 1998.