Cave Swallow

Silhouette SwallowsSwallows

Cave Swallow

Petrochelidon fulva
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Hirundinidae
Basic Description

The Cave Swallow devours flying insects with quick airborne twists and turns that show off its chestnut rump patch and forehead. True to its name, it often roosts and nests inside the entrances to caves, sharing the space with bats. More recently, Cave Swallows started nesting under bridges and culverts and expanding their range northward. These colonial nesters collect mud and bat guano with their bill to build a nest that they cement onto walls and ledges.

More ID Info
image of range map for Cave SwallowRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Visiting Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico is one surefire way to see a Cave Swallow. They nest inside the main cavern, making it easy to watch them fly in and out. Outside Carlsbad, look for them under bridges, near other caves, or foraging above water. They’re often with other swallows, so look for their chestnut rump patch to pick them out of the crowd. Cave Swallows also turn up from time to time in the northeastern United States. These rarities often show up from late October through mid-November following a fast-moving low pressure system. Look for these errant birds foraging over water.

Other Names
  • Golondrina Pueblera (Spanish)
  • Hirondelle à front brun (French)
  • Cool Facts