Birds to look for in August — Swallow


Where to look

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!

Tweet of the Day
To hear the Swallow’s song follow the link below to the BBC’s Tweet of the Day 


“I saw a swallow swooping”
“We saw loads of these shopping in and out of old pill boxes in the beach”

Where we've found Swallows

Swallow spottings journal (6 seen)

Last seen Location Spotted by Group Notes
27 May 2024 Stroud Valleys Project
13 Aug 2023 Stroud Valleys Project
27 Sep 2022 Stroud Valleys Project
13 Oct 2021 Stroud Valleys Project
10 Aug 2020 Bawdsey Ilse Leafgatherers I saw a swallow swooping
10 Aug 2020 Bawdsey Edie Leafgatherers We saw loads of these shopping in and out of old pill boxes in the beach


Stroud Valleys Project is a limited company registered in England and Wales
Registered number: 2224016
Registered charity number: 900107

Stroud Valleys Project
8 Threadneedle Street

  01453 763358
  Email us