The classic harbinger of summer, an elegant streamlined bird with a deeply forked tail that carries narrow elongated streamers on the outer tail feathers. The upperparts of Swallow Bird are a glossy midnight blue, with a deep red forehead and throat, a dark blue breast band and buffish-cream underparts. Immature birds have short tail streamers and a dingy buff throat. When spread, the tail shows white spots on the feather webs. The flight is light and graceful, with rapid swoops after insects.
Swallow Bird is a summer visitor to our shores from Africa. As an aerial feeder dependent on flying insects, Swallow Bird can exploit a very wide range of habitats provided that food is plentiful. It tends to avoid densely forested and mountainous areas, but otherwise can be found in all types of open country, although most commonly in farmland and villages where grazing animals are present. It can be seen feeding low over meadows and pastures and also over freshwater bodies, marshes and other wetlands. It is also dependent on suitable nesting places, favouring partly open farm buildings, barns, outhouses, stables and other similar structures.
The song of Swallow Bird is a melodious twittering and spluttering, periodically interspersed with a strangled croak followed by a trilling rattle, and can be sung persistently either in flight or from a perch such as a wire. Sub-song or short twittering phrases are frequently heard, such as "wttwtitwttwwtit". It has a variety of calls, such as a commonly heard "vhit!", often repeated as "vhit vhit vhit", and a sharp, higher-pitched, slightly ascending "vheet ! vheet !" or "plee-vhink" as an alarm call in response to aerial predators. Other variations are a conversational "tit'tich'iwitt" and "wtwittit", a quick "thwitt" and a sharp "tjjup!".