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Merlin Bird ID

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    Northern Rough-winged Swallow Life History


    Habitat Rivers and StreamsBreeds in a wide variety of open habitats, with openings in various vertical surfaces, including banks, gorges, and human structures.Back to top


    Food InsectsFlying insects.Back to top


    Nest Placement

    Nest Burrow

    Nest Description

    Nests in burrows or cavities in various substrates. Probably uses burrows made by other species, but may dig its own nest.

    Nesting Facts
    Clutch Size:4-8 eggs
    Egg Description:White.
    Condition at Hatching:Helpless with sparse down.
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    Behavior Aerial ForagerCatches insects in flight, often close to ground or water surface.Back to top


    Conservation Low ConcernNorthern Rough-winged Swallow populations declined by 26% between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 15 million with 81% spending some part of the year in the U.S., 53% in Mexico, and 8% breeding in Canada. They rate a 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and are not listed in the 2014 State of the Birds Report. These swallows generally adapt well to environments affected by human activity. Back to top


    De Jong, Michael J. 1996. Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

    Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

    North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

    Partners in Flight. 2017. Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

    Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J. and W. A. Link. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966-2013 (Version 1.30.15). USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center 2014b. Available from

    Sibley, David Allen. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A Knopf, New York.

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