The Barn Swallow – An Exciting Visitor of Koh Chang
The Barn Swallow
Being a bird of open country, the Barn Swallow usually uses the man-made structures to breed. It is frequently observed to be flying low near hotels or resorts buildings at Koh Chang Island. It is famous with its daredevil dives and is a quick flier. It attracts attention of people as it flies near to humans.
The Hirundo rustica or commonly known as Barn Swallow is the most widespread species of swallows in the world. With its blue upperparts, long and deeply forked tail and curved pointed wings, make it distinct among other passerine birds. It feeds on insects caught in flight. The adult male Barn Swallow is bigger and heavier than the female counterpart. The song of the Barn Swallow is a cheerful warble, often ending with “su-seer” with the second note higher than the first but falling in pitch. Calls include “witt” or “witt-witt” and a loud “splee-plink” when excited or trying to chase intruders away from the nest. The alarm calls include a sharp “siflitt” for predators like cats and a “flitt-flitt” for birds of prey like the Hobby. This species is fairly quiet on the wintering grounds.
Though the preferred habitat of the Barn Swallow is open country with low vegetation, it also opts for exposed locations such as wires, outdoor antennae poles, roof ridges or bare branches for perching. It has been recorded as breeding in the more temperate parts of its winter range in places like Koh Chang and other tropical areas. The Barn Swallow shares the same habit with other aerial insectivores – it has the maneuverability necessary to feed on flying insects while airborne. It is typically feeds at an elevated distance of 7 to 8 meters above shallow water or ground. It occasionally picks prey from water surface, plants or walls. With open mouth, it scoops water by skimming low over lakes or rivers. Barn Swallow bathes in similar fashion by dipping into the water for a quick dive while in flight.