Living Bird Magazine
Northern Rough-winged SwallowStelgidopteryx serripennis
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Hirundinidae
A plain brown bird, the Northern Rough-winged Swallow is fairly common across the United States in summer. The species derives its name from the outer wing feathers, which have small hooks or points on their leading edges.More ID Info
- Golondrina Alas Aserradas (Spanish)
- Hirondelle à ailes hérissées (French)
- Cool Facts
- The function of the rough wing edge of the Northern Rough-winged Swallow is not known.
- The barbs on the primary feathers of the male Northern Rough-winged Swallow are distinctly hooked; those of the female are smaller and straighter. Running a finger from base to tip along the barbed wing edge yields a sensation similar to that of touching a rough file.
- The Greek genus name of the Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx, means "scraper wing;" the Latin species name, serripennis, means "saw feather."
- In one documented case, a Northern Rough-winged Swallow pair nested inside a Civil War cannon.
- The oldest recorded Northern Rough-winged Swallow was a male, and at least 5 years, 11 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased in California.