Hirundo rustica
English: Barn Swallow.
German: Rauchschwalbe.
French: Hirondelle rustique.
Order: Passeriformes.
Family: Hirundinidae.
The Barn Swallow could be confused with the Lesser Striated Swallow. However, the Barn Swallow one has a red neck that the Lesser Striated Swallow one lacks. The Barn Swallow one has dark colored uppertail coverts and the Lesser Striated Swallow one has a light cream color.

On the other hand, another swallow that could be confused with the Barn Swallow is the Northern House-Martin, with which it also shares habitat. The Northern House-Martin lacks a red throat and has a white rump. Another big difference: the Northern House-Martin’s R6 feathers are much shorter than the Barn Swallow’s.
The plumage of Barn Swallow is quite similar between males and females, but as a rule, the female has more muted tones and shorter R6 feathers than the males.

Within this species, there is a great variability in size.
It is possible to recognize 3 different ages:

Juvenile specimen: it has a very light forehead and throat and in general, the individual’s color is more muted. The number 6 tail feathers are much shorter than any adult’s and have rounded tips. General plumage tones are muted.

1st year specimen: these specimens can be distinguished by the feathers of the throat and forehead, as they have been molted in the previous molt process and have an adult appearance. They contrast with the tail feathers that are still from the previous, juvenile generation.

Adult specimen: the color of the throat and forehead is an intense reddish (greater intensity in males). The R6 feathers look sharp and long. The general appearance of the plumage shines with a bright blue color.

During the spring season, once the molt processes (postnuptial/postjuvenile) are completed, the age cannot be dated through the plumage.
Barn Swallows perform a complete postnuptial and postjuvenile molt. These processes usually start in the breeding areas and end in the wintering areas.
Primaries: 10 per wing.
Secundaries: 9 per wing.
Rectrices: 12.


Adult specimen:
Beak tip to pupil center:

Adult male specimen


1.- Primaries of the left wing. 2.- Primaries. 3.- Details of the primaries. 4.- Details of the outer vane of the primaries. 5.- Details of the outer vane of the primaries. 6.- Details of P10. 7.- Secondaries and tertials of the left wing. 8.- Secondaries and tertials. 9.- Details of the tips of the secondaries. 10.- Details of the outer vane of the secondaries. 11.- Details of the tertials. 12.- Primaries, secondaries, and tertials. 13.- Primaries, secondaries, and tertials. 14.- Primaries, secondaries, and tertials. Greater and lesser coverts. 15.- Primary coverts. 16.- Greater coverts. 17.- Median and lesser coverts. 18.- Primaries, secondaries, and tertials. Primary coverts and secondary coverts (greater, median, and lesser). Alulas. 19.- Bottom: Alulas. Center: Primary coverts. Top: Greater coverts. 20.- Rectrices. 21.- Rectrices. 22.- Rectrices + uppertail coverts. 23.- Details of the uppertail coverts. 24.- Details of the rectrices. 25.- Details of R6. 26.- Details of R4. 27.- Rectrices + undertail coverts. 28.- Belly feathers. 29.- Details of the throat feathers. 30.- Assembly of the left infracoverts.

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