The Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, is a small migratory perching bird found in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. It has a long, deeply forked tail and curved, pointed wings.
The nominate European subspecies, H. r. rustica, has dark blue-black upper sides, off-white undersides and a small patch of red on the throat, with a broad dark blue-black breast band separating the red throat from the off-white undersides. It breeds in Europe and western Asia, as far north as the Arctic Circle, and migrating to Africa in winter.
The North American subspecies, H. r. erythrogaster, differs from the European subspecies in having redder undersides and a narrower, often incomplete dark breast band. It breeds throughout North America, migrating to South America in winter.
The Middle Eastern subspecies, H. r. transitiva, and the resident
Egyptian subspecies, H. r. savignii, also have orange-red undersides, but with a broad dark breast band.
The Asian subspecies – H. r. gutturalis, H. r. mandschurica, H. r.
saturata, and H. r. tytleri – are similar to the North American subspecies, with variably darker orange undersides and a narrower dark breast band. They breed in eastern Asia and winter in southern Asia and northern