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Cliff Swallow Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    These compact swallows have rounded, broad-based wings, a small head, and a medium-length, squared tail.

    Relative Size

    Smaller than a Purple Martin; slightly larger than a Bank Swallow.

    Relative Sizesparrow or smallersparrow-sized or smaller

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 5.1 in (13 cm)
      • Weight: 0.7-1.2 oz (19-34 g)
      • Wingspan: 11.0-11.8 in (28-30 cm)

Regional Differences

Most Cliff Swallows in North America have whitish foreheads; however, birds from the Mexican population (which extends into the southwest U.S.) have dark chestnut foreheads.