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The species of March 2018

Common NameBarn swallow
Scientific name: Hirundo rustica
Family: Hirundinidae



It is the most famous species of swallow in Cyprus. It has as its main features a black-brown plumage and a long scissortail. His neck is reddish, a feature that distinguishes it from the rest of his family. Another very impressive and distinctive feature is the metallic dark blue colour at the top of its feather. The bottom of its feather is white. The size of his body varies from 19 to 21 cm [1,5].

Its main and exclusive food is tiny insects, which trap with its beak during its flight as it is avian bird [4,5].

It breeds twice a year, the period between April – August. During the breeding season, it usually breeds 4-6 eggs, which are incubated for about 16 days by the female swallow.
The call of the female swallow by the male is made with circular aerial movements and songs. Its nest is made in the shape of an open bowl of mud, straw and feather. Its main hiding places are usually terraces and outdoor house storage [1,5].

Immigration in Cyprus
It is a migratory bird which belongs to the class of Aves. It migrates to tens of hundreds of flocks since March to reproduce and in the early autumn it migrates to the warm climates of Africa. It adapts easily to the areas visited as it lives in villages and towns and it is very familiar with humans [1,3,4].
Their immigration journey lasts for several weeks and reaches up to 20,000 kilometres. During their voyage they encounter several difficulties: they encounter birds of prey, storms, strong winds, cross huge deserts and seas to reach the Mediterranean Sea. Also, many places, where they could rest and recover their forces to continue, have been destroyed or polluted so they are considered unsuitable and unsustainable for them [3].

Others characteristics
Generally, swallows are particularly agile and they impress with their unique stunts. The agility that characterizes their movements in the air is far greater than how fast they make their moves. So, because of the very great flexibility they have, it is difficult to locate remotely the beautiful colours that are combined with its tiny body. Moreover, their characteristic tweet and their dancing wings are the precursors of spring and flowering in our place. Our island has brought out a wealth of songs, poems and fairy tales related to this beautiful bird.

The barn swallow is a common bird on our island, but its population appears in smaller numbers. Thus, this species of the swallow is included in the Red Book for the Protection of Endangered Species and in the species of Annex II of the Berne Convention for the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats [2].

[1] Πουλιά της Κύπρου, του Λουκά Χριστοφόρου, AFIAP, 1998 (Βιβλίο)
[2] http://www.ornithologiki.gr/page_cn.php?aID=1113
[3] http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%A7%CE%B5%CE%BB%CE%B9%CE%B4%CF%8C%CE%BD%CE%B9
[4] http://www.poulia.info/2012/01/hirundo-rustica.html
[5] http://www.katakali.net/drupal/poylia/xelidoni
[6] http://www.springalive.net/el-cy/springalive/swallow


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