They weigh only 20 grams and their appearance is extremely delicate. However They return to the Iberian Peninsula every year after traveling more than 5,000 kilometers., from the Gulf of Guinea in Africa, where they spend the winter. They flew almost without rest over the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean, and withstood storms of water and sand. A single couple feeding their young can eliminate up to 1,700 flies and mosquitoes per day.. There is no more effective and ecological insecticide. They are swallows heralding spring, returning to Europe to breed.
barn swallow (hirundo rustica) is one of the best known and most studied birds. Species have been key to unraveling aspects of migration, sexual selection, and reproduction in birds.. Due to their proximity to humans throughout history, they form part of popular culture and their arrival earlier and earlier as a result of modernization. climate changeIt is considered an announcement of good weather.
Despite its abundance, It is a declining species mainly due to changes in the rural environment and agricultural policies and techniques.As stated in the ‘Bird Guide’ by SEO/BirdLife, an organization that designated itself ‘Bird of the Year’ in 2014.
Although not a threatened species, serious problems for several decades, indiscriminate use of pesticidesreducing the amount of insects it feeds on; most deliberate removal of sockets on the pretext that they are polluting; most nesting challenge in new rural buildings; and leaving the countrysidewith many buildings demolished as a result,” says SEO/BirdLife.
Types of “special interest”
In the National Endangered Species Catalogue, the barn swallow is listed as ‘Special interest’. It is the most common member of its family, as it breeds in most of North America and Eurasia, outside the polar regions and deserts. It occupies South America, Africa, Southern Asia and Northern Australia in winter. Eight subspecies are recognized, but it has been suggested that some of these may be different species, particularly the American forms.
As stated in the SEO/BirdLife ‘Bird Guide’, The Rustica subspecies is the only one found in Spain.sometimes reddish-bellied birds are seen, which may belong to subspecies from the Middle East (transitiva, savignii) or may simply be local variants.
found widely distributed during the breeding season and in transit throughout the Peninsula, Balearic Islands, Ceuta and Melilla. Very few winters in the south, particularly in the lower Guadalquivir. In the Canary Islands, which is common in the gorges, recently started breeding in Gran Canaria..
Spaniards overwinter in the Gulf of Guinea. and they slowly return to the breeding ground with a delay of up to three months between north and south. In Andalusia and Extremadura, they usually appear in January and come heavily from February; They do so in the center and east of the peninsula, usually after a month, and do not become common until April on the northern Meseta and Cantabrian coasts. By this time, it is already available in mainland Spain.
They usually leave their breeding grounds in the south from July to early September, with transitional specimens generally following the Mediterranean coast, moving in September and October. From June on, they gather in roosts, which are mainly composed of young.
a million couples in spain
Although the Spanish population cannot be measured exactly, over a million couples. Actually, Known roosts with over 100,000 birds. There are between 16 and 36 million couples in Europe. However Between 1980 and 2003, the species experienced a drastic decline, with an estimated 27% population loss across the continent..
This little bird is very social and monogamous, nests are preferably in rural and urban structuressuch as barns, porches, terraces and terraces, but in the south of the Peninsula some swallows live in rocky desert valleys. The most consumed prey are flies and mosquitoes. It also preys on flying ants, wasps, beetles and small insects.
The breeding season is from May to August., a period in which two broods take place, each lasting 14 to 16 days. They lay 3 to 6 eggs. They can eat, drink, and feed their chicks without stopping to fly.. Cubs stay in the nest for 20 to 22 days. It breeds up to an altitude of 1,600 meters. Only the female incubates.
When the breeding season is over, swallows, juveniles and adults, often in the thousands, gather to sleep in suitable places, usually reeds, before embarking on their migratory flight, where other related species also go. The main predators of swallows are gulls, owls, hawks and domestic cats..
The expected penalty for destroying the nests of any swallow species can reach 200,000 euros. Both Spanish and European law condemn as a ‘serious crime’ any damage to these birds and their nests, whether occupied or not.
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