Wire-tailed swallow

Wire-tailed swallow has been living at Footsteps for as long as I can remember. They nest in our bar and have been rearing three or four sets of chicks each and every year. In fact, the nest is very rarely empty, with always three babies. I call them José Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, the three tenors. Because when mum arrives with their food, they all raise their heads with mouths open like opera singers. We haven’t moved the nest since it was built so we paint around it when they are not there to keep the bar looking nice.

The nest pictured below must have been there for ten years or longer. Testament to their superb building skills!

©Rob Carr – Outside on the upper deck
©Rob Carr – Mum coming to feed her chicks

Bird information.

Where can we see the Wire-tailed Swallow?

It is found at Footsteps and all over The Gambia, the two birds pictured above were taken in and just outside our bar/restaurant.

What does it look like?

The wire-tailed swallow is a small swallow, measuring 18 cm in length. It has bright blue upperparts, bright white underparts and a chestnut cap. Immature birds lack tail wires and have dull brown (rather than chestnut) caps. The species is named for the very long filamentous outermost tail feathers, which trail behind like two wires. The sexes are similar in appearance, but the female has shorter “wires”. Juveniles have a brown crown, back and tail. Source Wikipedia

What does a Wire-tailed Swallow feed on?

They feed primarily on insects, especially flies.

Want to know an interesting Factoid?

Wire-tailed swallows build nests that really last. Fifteen years is not unusual if the nest is indoors. ( As ours is )

How does it sound?

It has a chatty warbling call lasting between 5 and 20 seconds, interspersed with short mechanical-sounding whirrs.

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