Tree Swallow

photo by Phil Swanson

Tachycineta bicolor
L 5 3/4″ (15 cm).

Song or calls:
Liquid “chweet.”

Description: Sexes similar. Dark, glossy greenish-blue above, greener in fall plumage; white below. White cheek patch does not extend above eye as in Violet-green Swallow. Juvenile is gray-brown above; white below; and usually with a dusky breast band, more diffuse than in Bank Swallow. First-spring female shows varying amounts of adult color on crown and back.

tree swallow

Habitat: Open woodlands, usually fairly close to water. Favorite nesting sites include woodpecker holes in dead trees and bluebird houses.

Where in Nebraska: Common spring and fall migrant and summer resident in eastern Nebraska, becoming rarer westwardly.

Field Notes: Generally migrates north earlier in the spring, and lingers farther north in the fall than other swallows.

Fun Facts: Tree Swallows use the feathers of other birds to line their nests to help keep the nestlings warm.

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