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Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta thalassina


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Violet-green Swallow
credit: Wolfgang Wander/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Hirundinidae, Swallows view all from this family

Description ADULT Has greenish back and wing coverts, greenish brown cap, and violet sheen to wings and upper tail. Underparts are white. Females have browner, much less colorful upperparts with white tips to tertials. JUVENILE Similar to female, but even browner, with gray-brown (not white) face.

Dimensions Length: 5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm)

Habitat Widespread and common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Sep) to western North America. Favors a range of habitats including open, wooded mountain slopes, and cities and towns. Winters mainly in Central America.

Observation Tips Easy to find.

Range Alaska, Rocky Mountains, California, Southwest, Western Canada, Texas, Northwest, Plains

Voice Utters a range of twittering and whistling notes.

Discussion Separable from similar Tree Swallow by white-faced appearance (white above and behind eye) and white sides to rump; in good light, color sheen is different, and note longer wings that extend well beyond relatively short tail when perched. Catches insects on the wing and sometimes congregates where feeding is good. Nests in tree holes, and cliff and building crevices.