Swallow - Hirundo Rustica

(click to enlarge)
Swallows have long wings and long tail streamers, they circle gracefully overhead and swoop low over water and ground.

The adults are very similar, having metallic royal blue upperparts and breast band, cream-buff under parts, and russet (red-brown) face and throat. The tail has white markings along the inside edges of the fork. The female's tail streamers are shorter than those of the male.
Juveniles are duller, and lack both the russet face and throat and tail streamers.

Their song is a rambling warble of trills and twitters, sometimes sounding almost like a sparrow.

Both adults build a nest from mud and plant fibres against a beam or shelf in buildings or a ledge on cliffs. Breeding starts in April-May and consists of 2-3 clutches of 3-8 eggs.

Swallows, like other hirundines and Swifts, feed on the wing by catching insects in their large gapes. The long tail feathers give Swallows exceptional manoeuvrability, better than House Martins and Swifts.

Many thanks to British Garden Birds for the information on this page.