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A gulp of swallows

April 4, 2021

The title of this blog was going to be the punch-line until I looked up the collective noun for swallows and found out that it actually was gulp, as well as flight, herd, kettle, richness and swoop.

Swallows are widespread throughout Australia. Two species of swallows and two species of martins, also of the swallow family, occur in this district. Martins are distinguished from swallows by the square-shaped tail. Both swallows and martins are highly gregarious and are often seen in mixed flocks perched along fence lines (pictured below) in this case Welcome Swallows (Hirundo neoxena) and Tree Martins (Petrochelidon nigricans).

Welcome Swallows (blue head, brown face) and Tree Martins (grey)

Welcome Swallows (pictured left) are probably the best known of the group as they have adapted well to human habitation, frequently building its nest under the eaves of man-made structures. Tree Martins on the other hand nest in natural hollows that they line with grass and leaves. Both are acrobatic aerial feeders of insects, the martins at tree top level and the swallows lower down.

Also around at the moment are Dusky Woodswallows (Artamus cyanopterus), pictured right. They are also active insectivores. Named for their swallow-like tail Dusky Woodswallows are not actually members of the swallow family but are grouped with butcherbirds, currawongs and magpies.

Gulp!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    April 5, 2021 10:28 am

    Your stories always give me a smile. Often there are heavy discussions concerning whether we have swallows or tree martins flying around! I will look toward the tail end now!

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