Cliff Swallow

Petrochelidon pyrrhonota

Petrochelidon pyrrhonota, Cliff Swallow, photo © by Michael Plagens

Cliff Swallows nesting under a bridge in Glendale, Arizona, USA. 4 May 2017.

Swallows as a group are easily recognized as they swoop and swerve on long agile wings as they capture flying insects on the wing. Infrequently they rest on a tree branch or utility wire to allow careful viewing by nature watchers. Experienced bird watchers learn to pick out a flying bird and follow it long enough to catch the important traits of the several swallow species likely to be encountered in the Sonoran Desert region.

Season is a helpful clue to identification. During the hot summer months Cliff Swallows are far and away the most abundant swallow in the desert. They are heavily dependent on open water in part because they need wet mud to construct their nests. Their food consists heavily of the many insects such as midges and mayflies that emerge from bodies of water.

Common Summer Breeder - Migrates to Tropics for the Winter

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More Info:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 4 May 2017.