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Tree Swallow

Tachycineta bicolor

Length: 6.5 inches Wingspan: 12.5 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Sharply bi-colored, with dark bluish upperparts, and white underparts.  Flight feathers blackish.

Tree Swallow - Tachycineta bicolorUsually the first of the swallows to arrive in South Dakota in the spring, the Tree Swallow can survive cold spells by foraging on berries and seeds.  They also winter further north than other North American Swallows, often congregating in massive flocks on their wintering grounds.  Tree Swallows have greatly benefited from the proliferation of bluebird boxes, as they will readily use boxes of that size and configuration.  

Habitat: Open or semi-open country, usually near water.

Diet: Most of the diet is made up of insects.  Unlike most swallows, tree swallows sometimes eat quite a bit of vegetative material, primarily berries and seeds.

Behavior: Mostly forages while in flight, feeding on flying insects or swooping to the water's surface to pick up insects.  They will also perch in bushes or on the ground to feed on berries, especially when the weather is cold and insects aren't available.

Nesting: May and June

Song: Tree Swallow Song

Migration: Summers in much of Canada and the U.S.  Summers in the extreme southern U.S. and points south.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Tree Swallow sightings

Similar Species: Violet-Green Swallow, Purple Martin

Birdhouses: Will nest in nest boxes of appropriate size, and gourds.

Conservation Status: Common and widespread, with no substantial threats to overall populations. The IUCN considers the Tree Swallow to be a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Tree Swallow

2) WhatBird - Tree Swallow

3) Audubon Guide - Tree Swallow

Photo Information: April 4th, 2004 -- Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Tree Swallow photos.

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Tree Swallow - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common summer breeding resident in the eastern part of the state, uncommon in the western part.

Additional Tree Swallow Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
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