Welcome Swallow

The Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) is he familiar house swallow with glossy blue-black upperparts and mid grey underparts. Its forehead, face and throat are dull tan and the tail is deeply forked with lace-like white spots on the inner tail feathers, visible in flight. They are often seen in company with tree and fairy martins, whose distinguishing marks are their white rumps obvious in flight.

Welcome swallows have swift and graceful swooping flight, enabling them to hawk insects over water and vegetation. Their diet consists mainly of a wide variety of insects from small moths to large flies to tiny midges. They enjoy open woodland, grassland, wetlands and urban areas.

Welcome swallows breed from August to December with 2 to 5 eggs in the nest. The nest is an open cup of mud pellets bound with grass and deeply lines with feathers, fur and hair. Many pairs return to the same nest or area either in dead trees, cliff cavities, rock shelters but mostly to man made structures e.g. bridges, house eaves, deserted buildings. Welcome swallows are one of the few bird species to have increase in numbers since European settlement due to clearance of timber and building of structures. (Contributed by Jo G.)