Tree Swallow
Iridoprocne bicolor
Family: Hirundinidae

Tree Swallow
Picture Info
The Tree Swallow has steel blue back with green reflections and underparts almost a clear or pure white, a slightly forked tail and feet the color of flesh. There are no distinguishing marks between the male or female. This bird is 5 1/4 - 6" in length with a wingspan of 12-13".

The Tree Swallow is a migratory bird and they migrate in large flocks by day and roost at night. During the day, they can also be seen flying in circular motions, turning and winding in all directions and skimming over meadows, streets and cities. In flight, this bird can be confused with the Purple Martin.

They tend to quarrel, but remain in flocks in all seasons and many pairs are often seen to breed within a short distance from each other.


I have seen another scientific name, Tachycineta bicolor, for the Tree Swallow.


The song of the Tree Swallow is a repeated twittering cheet.


Migratory. Winters from southern US to Central America. Breeds across most of the northern US and Canada.


The Tree Swallow prefers a natural tree cavity, but will nest in man-made nestboxes and eaves of barns. The nest is built by the female in a globular form constructed of grasses and straws and lined with feathers of various kinds. Throughout the months of April to June, as many as 4-6 white eggs are laid. Incubation is performed by both parents and takes anywhere from 13-16 days to hatch. Tree Swallows breed twice during the season and the males may have two mates at the same time.

Natural Feeding Habits:

Like other swallows, the Tree Swallow feeds on wing over ponds, rivers and meadows, pursuing insects of flies, grasshoppers, ants, spiders and beetles.

Other Names:

John James Audubon called this bird the "White-bellied Swallow".

Home | Site Introduction | Survival Needs | Bird Identifications | Gallery & Profiles
Habitats of Birds | Bird Migration | Odds & Ends | Birds and Nature Magazine | Resources | Search