Identification and PicturesViolet-Green
Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)
swallows are about 5 1/4 inches. They are often mistaken for Tree
swallows. One way to tell
the difference is Tree swallows have no white above the eye.
When the birds are perched the wings of Violet-green swallows extend beyond the tail, and they don't on
have an iridescent violet-green helmet, and back. The rump is purple with
white below. The white patches almost meet over the base
of the tail. Below the green helmet the face is white,
and the white almost circles the eyes. The females and
young are a little duller.
Photo by Keith Lee. The camera I
use is the Canon
EOS 40D and a 70 to 300 zoom lens.
As with all swallows they are streamlined, and very graceful flyers.
characteristics are short legs, tiny feet, long pointed wings, and short wide bills.
Violet-Green swallows may live in small colonies, or just
as single pairs. They can be found in a variety of habitats from forests, wetlands, prairies, and
cities. The birds are very social, and are often seen in
flocks with other swallows.
Breeding and Nesting
They breed from April through July, and
nest in holes in cliffs, and trees
in open forests, woods, canyons, mountains, and in towns.
They often use birdhouses. The nest is built of grass,
straw, and string, and is lined with feathers, and is built by
both birds. Females
will incubate 4 to 6 pure white eggs for around 14 days.
Both parents will feed the nestlings. The birds will usually only have one brood but have been known to have a second.
The young fledge in 23 to 25 days, but the parents will
continue to feed them for a while. If swallows start nesting in
your birdhouse they, and their young will most likely
return to nest again.
The sound they make is a rapid chit-chit, and high cheep cheep.
They also make a series of
notes like wheet wheet given in flight.
Swallows eat mostly insects, and are constantly swooping
through the air for their prey.
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birds click here.