My Bantam Lake

Bank Swallow

Written on 06/10/2018

Riparia riparia

The Bank Swallow nests in colonies in streamside banks across much of North America. It can also be found across most of Europe and Asia. It nests in burrows excavated using its feet and bill. The Bank Swallow is a small, slender songbird with a small head, long wings, a tiny bill, and a slightly notched tail. It flies with quick, fluttery wingbeats. Adults are brown above with a brown breast band and a white swoosh on the neck. Immature individuals look similar to adults, but with pale edging to back feathers. They measure in length between 12 and 14 centimeters, and in wingspan between 25 and 29 centimeters. They forage for insects fairly low over fields, water, and other open areas. Their conservation status is Common Bird in Steep Decline.

Fun Facts:

  • A Bank Swallow colony may range from 10 nests to nearly 2,000.
  • Male Bank Swallows are typically not monogamous.
  • The oldest recorded Bank Swallow lived to at least 8 years old.


Source: Bank Swallow Overview and Identification Information, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology