Tachycineta Bicolor – Tree Swallow

Tachycineta Bicolor - Tree Swallow found in the US

The tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor is a Hirundinid migrant. The tree swallow, Hirundo bicolor, was named by French naturalist Louis Vieillot in 1807. It was then transferred to Tachycineta, where its evolutionary position is contested.

Quick Overview: Tachycineta Bicolor – Tree Swallow
Body size: Around 5.75 in (15 cm) and a weight of 20 g (0.7 oz)
Main colors: Green-Blue, Red-Brown, Gray, Brown
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Tree Swallow Description

Tree swallows have large wings and short legs and feet. On the chin, breast, and belly, they are irridescent greenish-blue. Birds of prey have a short black beak and reddish-brown or gray feet. Adult tree swallows are greenish blue, but juveniles are brownish. Their white chests have a dark hue. Females one year old have a combination of brown and irridescent greenish-blue above.

Tachycineta Bicolor - Tree Swallow found in the US
Tachycineta Bicolor – Tree Swallow. Source: Wikipedia


These birds have a length of 5.75 in (15 cm) and a weight of 20 g (0.7 oz). Their wings could range from 12.5 in (32 cm).


Tree swallows consume mostly insects, but also plant stuff (about 20 percent of their diet). They hunt in open places over water or land. When insects are plentiful, they feed in flocks. They may catch insects from water or vertical surfaces. Swallows hunt on flies, beetles, ants, spiders, and grasshoppers from dawn to sunset. In inclement weather, tree swallows graze on bulrushes, bayberries, and other plant seeds.


Forested bogs and pastures near water are preferred habitats for tree swallows. Tree swallows need cavities to nest, hence this is an essential habitat need. In addition to dead trees, sapsucker-excavated holes in living trees, and artificial nest boxes can offer these.


During the non-breeding season, tree swallows create large flocks of up to a thousand birds. During mating season, they are fiercely territorial. Both sexes defend a 10 to 15 m radius around their nest against conspecifics and other nest rivals. Many tree swallow behaviors, including sexually selective infanticide, frequent copulation, and hostile responses to nest site rivals, are assumed to be motivated by nest site competition.

Tachycineta Bicolor Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Hirundinidae
  • Genus: Tachycineta
  • Species: Tachycineta bicolor

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in United States is during summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the Tree Swallow in the USA

Breeds from Alaska to Newfoundland, through southern Nunavut and California, northern Arizona, Texas, and Georgia. Winters in California, Mexico, the Gulf Coast, and the Mid-Atlantic.

The Tree Swallow can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Tachycineta Bicolor – Tree Swallow

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