388. THE SWALLOW.
Hirundo rustica, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 343 (1766) ; Naum. vi. p. 49, Taf. 145, tig. 1 ; Gould, B. of E. ii. p. 54 ; Hewitson. i. p. 257, pl. lxv. figs. 3, 4 ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 5 ; Newton, ii. p. 340 ; Dresser, iii. p. 477, pl. 160, fig. 1 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br Mus. x. p. 128 ; Saunders, p. 163 ; Lilford, ii. p. 78, pl. 36.
Hirondelle de cheminee, French ; Andorinha, Portug. ; Golon-drina, Span. ; Rondine, Ital. ; Rauch-Schwalbe, German ; Zwaluw, Dutch ; Hussvale, Forstuesvale, Dan. ; Ladesvale, Norweg. ; Ladu-svala, Swed. ; Latopaaskynen, Finn. ; Kosatotchka, Russ. ; Ababil, Hindu ; Pyan-hlwa, Burmese.
Male ad. (Sweden). Forehead, chin, and throat chestnut ; rest of the head and entire upper parts glossy steel-blue, the dorsal feathers white at the base, wings and tail black, glossed with bottle-green, all but the middle tail-feathers with a white patch towards the end of the inner web ; across the lower throat a broad black band glossed with steely blue ; rest of the under parts buffy white ; bill and legs black ; iris brown. Culmen 0.4, wing 4.8, tail 4.7, lateral rectrices extending about 2.75 beyond the middle ones, tarsus 0.45 inch. Sexes alike.
Hab. Europe generally ; Asia as far east as the Yenesei valley and even Manchuria ; wintering in Africa as far south as the Cape Colony, in India, Burma, the Malay peninsula, China, and the Philippines.
In its habits it is confiding and anything but shy, and, feeding entirely on insects, it is one of our most harmless and useful birds. Exceedingly agile and swift on the wing, it cap¬tures its prey in the air, flying in fine weather at a considerable altitude, or gliding near the ground when the weather is dull and damp. Its only note is a low twitter, which it utters when collected with others, and perched on a bare bough or a telegraph wire, or when at its nest. It commences nidification directly after arrival at its breeding-place, and will select the same place year after year if undisturbed. Its nest, which is cup¬shaped, constructed of mud worked together with bits of straw, and profusely lined with feathers, is placed on the face of a rock or quarry, in a chimney, under the eaves of a roof, or on the beam of an outhouse, and it is extremely partial to build¬ings. The eggs, from 4 to 5 or 6 in number, are white, sparingly marked with purplish grey shell-markings, and more profusely scattered dark red surface spots and blotches, in size averaging about 0.75 by 0.55. Two broods are usually reared in the season.
388. Hirundo rustica
388. THE SWALLOW.