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Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis


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Northern Rough-winged Swallow
credit: Basar/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Hirundinidae, Swallows view all from this family

Description ADULT Has rather uniform brown upperparts, with pale fringes to inner flight feathers and coverts sometimes visible. Brown on face grades to light brown on throat and breast; underparts are otherwise whitish. Tail appears almost square-ended when fanned in flight. JUVENILE Similar, but more rufous overall, with noticeably broad, rufous margins to inner flight feathers and wing coverts; throat is warm buff.

Dimensions Length: 5-5 3/4" (13-15 cm)

Habitat Widespread and common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Sep) to a wide range of open habitats. Winters mainly in Central America.

Observation Tips Absence of dark breast band allows separation from Bank Swallow.

Range Alaska, California, Eastern Canada, Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Great Lakes, Northwest, Western Canada, Plains, New England, Texas, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Southeast

Voice Utters a range of buzzing call notes.

Discussion Similar to, but slightly larger than, Bank Swallow, separable in all plumages by noting absence of dark breast band; underparts are also grubbier white overall. Nests in crevices and holes in rock faces; either solitarily or in small colonies (not the large colonies sometimes seen in Bank Swallow). Catches insects on the wing, often feeding over water. Sexes are similar.