Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bird a Day: Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Here is a common bird many of you may not know about.  Most people know Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows, but few may be familiar with the Rough-winged Swallow.  They are very common swallows across North America and Canada.  They nest in a variety of places like rocky gorges, shale banks (more on that here), and old kingfisher holes.  But they also like man-made structures such as drainpipes, cracks in buildings, bridges, and tunnels.  They like open habitats like hay fields and lakes for foraging.  They fly low over the land or water and scoop bugs out of the air and swallow them in flight, rarely landing.  They get their name from the rough barbed primary feathers on the male.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

NRWS's are a plain bird without any real field marks.  They are very similar to the Bank Swallow, but lack the breast band of the Bank.  There isn't much to say about their identification except that they are a brown nondescript bird with long swept back wings, a small bill, and a pale brown throat.


Amila said...

Really cute bird, perfect photo!

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