Juvenile Welcome Swallow (30)
The welcome, or house swallow, was self introduced from Australia in the 1950s so it is categorised as a fully protected native bird. The spread of the swallow has been spectacular and they are now a very common bird throughout the country. As well as Australasia, the bird breeds in Southern Asia from India to Malaysia and the western Pacific.
They are small, graceful, dark blue and white birds, with variable amounts of rusty red on the head and breast. They have streamlined bodies with a short neck and long, pointed wings. The tail is a deeply forked “swallowtail”. Their flight is graceful and rapid as they hawk for insects on the wing. They are birds of open country, hunting over lakes, rivers and grassland and are often seen perching on power lines like so many clothes pegs.
Around here they are in competition with Piwakawaka, the fantail, which also enjoys the myriad of insects to be found around the river. They seem to live happily enough together, although expert thinking says that no two species can occupy the same ecological niche without the demise of one. By my observations, it seems the fantail is better able to cope with winter and the violent storms we often have around here by its ability to use safe roosting places.
The Australian bird, like its European counterpart, is migratory. Indeed it is thought that during its yearly migration to and from Tasmania, the birds were blown off course by storms and so ended up here. The welcome swallow shows no signs of being migratory here in New Zealand.
The above obtained from http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/welcomeswallow.html
Camera: Canon 20D
Time of day: 2:04 p.m.
Date: 14th November 2005
Weather conditions: Clear
Lens: Canon 100-400mm L IS
Filter: Hoya 77mm UV
Shutter Speed: 1/30
Focal Length: 400mm
Original file type: Digital Raw