Barn Swallow: Fledgling behaviour

on 26th October 2009

Choo Teik Ju’s studies of a Barn Swallow ( Hirundo rustica ) fledgling show the changing mood of the young bird as it waits for the adults to arrive with food. It sits quietly when the adults are not nowhere in sight (above left). Note the yellow flanges lining the mandibles. The moment it senses an adult coming, it gapes widely to highlight the yellow-red bottomless pit of a throat lined by the flanges (above right). At the same time screeching loudly. All these help guide the adult on where to deposit the food. Once the adult is in sight, the wings will unfold, probably to make itself conspicuous (below left).

Once fed, the fledgling may indulge in comfort behaviour, stretching its wings one at a time (above right) or both together and scratching its head.

The photographs were documented by Choo Teik Ju at the Mai Po Marshes, Hongkong.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

2 Responses

  1. I hace swallows nesting on a shelf under theeave.
    I want to evict them after the babies have fledged & are viable. How much longer will I have to wait before safely evicting them?
    I love birds but not pests. They mess up my deck every day.

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