Cliff Swallow

photo by Phil Swanson

Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
L 5 1/2″ (14 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Rolling “churr” note. Song is series of squeaking and grating notes given in flight. 

Description: Sexes similar. Squarish tail; buffy rump; dark chestnut and blackish throat; pale forehead; blue-black crown and back with white stripes on back; dark wings and tail; buffy collar; and whitish belly. Juveniles are much duller and grayer, throat is paler, and forehead darker.

Behavior: Cliff Swallows are highly colonial, and often nest in the same location year after year.

cliff swallow
Habitat: Found in open areas near farms, towns, and cliffs. Also occurs around bridges, and in other areas where mud supplies and nest sites exist on vertical and overhanging surfaces.

Where in Nebraska: Common spring and fall migrant and summer resident across the state.

Fun Facts: Cliff Swallows can nest solitarily but often nest in colonies, sometimes numbering up to 3,700 nests in one spot.

Cliff Swallow - photo by Phil Swanson Cliff Swallow - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)