Bird Sounds: Barn Swallow

Primary Image

Adult Barn Swallow (American)

Photo Credit
Paul Reeves/Shutterstock

Barn Swallow Calls

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Hear the song of the Barn Swallow! Look for this friend of the farmer flying low over fields, meadows, and water, snagging insects on the wing. See how they nest (yes, in barns!) and listen to their bird sound.

The Barn Swallow is one of the most common bird species in the world. They may look like a sparrow as their size is similar but just look for their distinctive long, pointed wings and forked tail. The bird’s body is usually a tawny or cinnamon color as is the color beneath the wings. From above, the body and wings are a beautiful steely or deep blue. The head is a darker tawny or rusty color with a steely blue cap. 

Just as their name suggests, the barn swallow builds their small nests under the eaves of barns—as well as under porches, stables, bridges, and other buildings. Long ago, they nested exclusively in caves! Since they make their small cup-shaped nests out of mud, there must be a source of mud nearby (such as a river bank).

Barn Swallow nest with male bringing food to female and chicks. Credit: F. Yu/Shutterstock.

It’s amazing to watch Barn Swallows feed. They fly just above the ground to catch insects in the air. Their flight isn’t fluid but bursts of straight flight and quick turns and dives. 

The song of the swallow are classic warbling sounds, often lasting 5 to 20 seconds, interrupted by short mechanical-sounding whirrs. To us, it sounds quite chatty! Click the arrow above to listen. 

Have you heard a Barn Swallow? Add your comments below. Be sure to let us know where you live or where you’ve heard this bird sound before!

Bird sound compliments of The Macaulay Library at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Click here to listen to the sounds of other birds!

About The Author

Tom Warren

Tom Warren is a lifelong bird enthusiast. Tom is also committed to protecting birds and their habitat as a Trustee for both Massachusetts and New Hampshire Audubon, and the Harris Nature Center. Read More from Tom Warren

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