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Violet-green Swallow

Tachycineta thalassina

Length: 5 inches Wingspan: 11.5 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Dark above green in good light, white below, white rump patches narrowly separated above tail, white circling behind eye.

Violet-green Swallow - Tachycineta thalassinaThe Violet-green Swallow is a bird of Western North America, and can be found in summer from Mexico all the way up through Alaska.  They are similar in appearance and behavior to the Tree Swallow, and sometimes associated very closely with them.

Habitat: Will use a wide variety of semi-open habitats during the summer nesting season, including canyon walls, pine forests, riparian areas, and tree groves in more open prairie.  During migration, they are often found near water (coastlines, rivers, lakes). 

Diet: Feeds almost exclusively on flying insects.

Behavior: Gregarious, often forming mixed flocks with other swallows as well as White-throated Swifts.  Feeds by catching insects in flight.

Nesting: June and July

Song: A thin series of "chee-chee" notes.

Migration: Summers throughout the western part of North America, up through southern Alaska.  A few winter along the California coast, but most winter in Mexico and Central America. 

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Violet-green Swallow sightings

Similar Species: Tree Swallow 

Birdhouses: Will readily use man-made nest boxes.

Conservation Status: Numbers are generally stable, although they are in decline in scattered locales due to competition with House Sparrows and European Starlings, and are increasing in other areas due to large numbers of nest boxes.  Overall populations are strong, and the are common to abundant in many areas. The IUCN considers the Violet-green Swallow to be a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) WhatBird - Violet-green Swallow

2) Audubon Field Guide - Violet-green Swallow

3) BirdWeb - Violet-green Swallow

Photo Information: June 5th, 2009 - Klamath Falls, California - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips below for more, higher-resolution photos of the Violet-green Swallow.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Violet-green Swallow - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common summer resident in the far western part of the state.

Additional Violet-green Swallow Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
 Violet-green Swallow - Tachycineta thalassinaViolet-green Swallow - Tachycineta thalassinaViolet-green Swallow - Tachycineta thalassinaViolet-green Swallow - Tachycineta thalassinaViolet-green Swallow - Tachycineta thalassina