They often tweet and chirrup from perches. It is impossible to provide food in your garden for either species but both will readily adopt suitably sited nest boxes. Dark sooty brown. And if you’re thinking about going out in search of swallows, swifts or house martins, here’s some inspiration in my blog about searching for the first swallow of the spring. Partners pair for life and return to the same nesting sites year after year. They are roughly similar in size and shape, hence the difficulty some people have telling them apart, and swallows and house martins build similar nests, but it is their differences and how to tell them apart that we’re really interested in here. House martins and swallows It’s difficult to think of the familiar house martin as a mystery bird, but it is. Fun fact: They often form mixed flocks with their cousins the swallows (and even closer relatives the sand martins) and migrate together. Its upper body is a metallic blue-black, like the Swallow, and its underbelly is white; however, its white rump distinguishes it from the Swallow. No muddy cups for these guys! They spend half of the year on the wing moving between their wintering and breeding grounds, and they are supremely well adapted to this lifestyle. One way you can help swifts is by telling us about the swifts you see using Swift Mapper. Using its moderately forked tail, which is more so than a sand martin’s, it flies in gentle curves and at a low speed. The white patch on their rump on their otherwise blue-black back and head is a great way to single them out in a mixed flock with swallows. Like the Swallow and Swift, its tail is forked, but the fork is smaller than that of the Swallow. Swallows are definitely countryside lovers. As well as a free gift and magazines, you’ll get loads of ideas for activities to try at home. However (with the occasional exception), they go for the outside eaves rather than inside beams. There, they’ll build a cup-shaped nest of mud that’s difficult for predators to spot. Soft chirp chirp, without the burbling of a swallow. Find out more about the partnership, © The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. The most obvious thing that distinguishes swallows is their deeply forked tails. Except for a white underside divided by a distinctive brown bar across the chest. They are also the most graceful in flight compared with swifts and house martins. But which bird is it? The presence of young so late in the year can prompt the question as to their chances of survival. Sadly, our swifts are struggling. They zoom around at mid-height, usually in flocks, coming down low over the water and fluttering in and out of house eaves, chirruping softly. The main causes: Insecticides used in farming: have you noticed how few insects we have buzzing about these days? It’s nesting season for our waterfowl too but what are the rules you need to follow for ducks, geese or swans? In the UK, breeding numbers of swifts have dropped by 57% between 1995 and 2017. This fantastic wetland site is located north of Southport town centre and has some of the best wildlife in the region. Find out how to identify a bird just from the sound of its singing with our bird song identifier playlist. Swifts are some of the last summer migrants to arrive in this country and among the first to leave again in the autumn, meaning you have to makes the most of enjoying watching their aerial acrobatics between May and September. It feeds on insects which are caught in flight, and it migrates to climates where flying insects are plentiful. 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