Swallows are found in areas where there are plenty of small flying insects. So farmland with plenty of open pasture with access to water and quiet farm buildings are ideal places to see them.
Swallows (Hirundo rustica) can be recognised by their sleek blue backs, red throats, pale underparts and long tail streamers. They are highly suited to spending much of their life in the air and their body shape makes them very efficient flyers. They are slender and streamlined with long pointed wings which allows them great manoeuvrability and the ability to spend long periods flying and gliding. They are also highly adapted to aerial feeding. Swallows are insectivores and eat a range of small invertebrates (mainly large flies, such as horseflies and bluebottles) which are caught on the wing. Male and female swallows are virtually identical in appearance.
Swallows are most famous for migrating between the UK and Africa in search of food. British swallows mostly winter in Africa south of the Sahara in Botswana and South Africa. They arrive in the UK in April and May and return to their wintering grounds in September and October when their food starts to run out. Migrating swallows cover 320 km (200 miles) a day and can travel up to 6000 miles between the UK and South Africa twice a year. Spot them this month before they leave!
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