The Bank Swallow is part of the
Passeriformes order in the Hirundinidae family that
includes other swallows like the Barn Swallow, the
Purple Martin, and the Tree Swallow. In Europe the Bank
Swallow is also known as the Sand Martin. The Bank Swallow can be told apart from
other swallows from the brown band on its upper chest.
The Bank Swallow also has a brown colored back and white
belly and throat. Both the males and the females are the
same color and size A species that looks similar to the
Bank Swallow is the Northern Rough-winged Swallow that
lacks the brown band but instead the Northern
Rough-winged Swallow has a washed out brown
upper chest and throat.
The Bank Swallow is found near the edges of water
bodies where there are vertical cliffs for these birds to nest.
During the breeding season they are found in much of the higher
latitudes of North America including Canada and the Northern United
States. During non-breeding season the Bank Swallow is found in
northern South America.
When the Bank Swallow nests during the breeding
season they tend to nest in colonies on vertical cliffs with other
Bank Swallows. This happens mostly because of the limited amount of
nesting area. There are benefits to living with other swallows
including looking for predators and help with finding food during
the day. Males and females arrive at approximately the same
time to the colony site. Males will first start to defend a
previously made burrow or make an burrow by excavating, or digging
it from the soil. After the male has a burrow the female Bank
Swallows will hover around the many nest sites to choose a mate.
After she has chosen her mate she will begin to make a nest inside
of the burrow. As a result of so many other males around their
nest males are very protective of their pair bonded female and will
attack other males around the nest site so other males don't mate
with her. When the nest is complete around 4 eggs are laid and hatch
two weeks after. The chicks are born atriarcal so they are
completely dependant on their parent's care. Both the male and the
female will feed the young until they are ready to fledge which
takes about 22 days.
WHERE TO FIND THEM
The Bank Swallow can be found near habitats
surrounding water bodies like lakes, rivers and wetlands. In these
areas the birds will usually be seen flying in the sky catching
insects in the air.