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Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Silhouette SwallowsSwallows
Northern Rough-winged SwallowStelgidopteryx serripennis
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Hirundinidae

Basic Description

The Northern Rough-winged Swallow's plain brown back and dusky throat doesn't stand out, allowing it to sometimes go unnoticed in flocks of brighter swallow species. This common summer visitor flies low over water snatching insects in midair and rests on wires, posts, and exposed branches. It nests in burrows excavated by other birds and mammals, and spends the winters in Mexico and Central America. The species derives its name from the outer wing feathers, which have small hooks or points on their leading edges.

More ID Info
image of range map for Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Northern Rough-winged Swallows are common throughout the United States and southern Canada during the summer. Look for them flying low over lakes, ponds, and rivers. They tend to fly lower to the water than other swallows and fly with slower and more deliberate wingbeats. They often occur singly or in small groups, but be sure to check groups of swallows as they tend to mix with other species, especially during migration.

Other Names

  • Golondrina Aserrada (Spanish)
  • Hirondelle à ailes hérissées (French)
  • Cool Facts