My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

The northern rough-winged swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) is a small swallow.

Adults are 13–15 cm (5.1–5.9 in) in length, brown on top with light underparts and a forked tail. They are similar in appearance to the bank swallow but have a dusky throat and breast. They are closely related and very similar to the southern rough-winged swallow, Stelgidopteryx ruficollis, but that species has a more contrasting rump, and the ranges do not quite overlap.

Their breeding habitat is near streams, lakes and river banks across North America. They nest in cavities near water, usually a burrow in dirt; they do not usually form colonies. The normal clutch is four to eight eggs, incubated by the female for 13 days, with another 20 to fledging.

They migrate to the Gulf Coast of the United States and south to Central America.

These birds forage in flight over water or fields, usually flying low. They eat insects.

“Rough-winged” refers to the serrated edge feathers on the wing of this bird; this feature would only be apparent when holding this bird.

 

On to my photos:

These photos were taken in May of 2015, near the Muskegon County wastewater facility, at what used to be a gravel mining operation where the area excavated had filled with water creating a small man-made lake.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

 

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

 

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

 

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

 

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

 

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

 

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis

This is number 185 in my photo life list, only 165 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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18 responses

  1. Beautiful little fellows. We have ones they call “Violets” here. They nest in our shed. I learned Blue Jays will prey on the young swallows, having watched it happen one year. One one youngster survived that hatching.

    February 12, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    • Thank you very much Lavinia! Nature isn’t always pretty, but the jays have to survive, although I wish they’d find a different food source.

      February 12, 2016 at 11:21 pm

  2. Great shots of this swallow. How did you manage to get it to stay on that post? 🙂

    February 12, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    • Thank you very much! I think that they were basking in the sun and didn’t mind my being so close. That happens with several species of swallows.

      February 12, 2016 at 11:22 pm

  3. Beautiful little creatures.

    February 12, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    • Thank you very much Cornell!

      February 12, 2016 at 11:22 pm

  4. I used to see a lot of swallows nesting in the soft sand along the river but I never saw one up close. It’s an unusual looking bird.

    February 12, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    • Thank you very much Allen! They do look different than other swallows, but they still fly too fast for me to catch them in flight. 😉

      February 12, 2016 at 11:23 pm

  5. Splendid pictures.

    February 12, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    • Thank you very much Tom!

      February 12, 2016 at 11:24 pm

  6. Stunning pictures of a beautiful bird.

    February 12, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    • Thank you very much Susan!

      February 12, 2016 at 11:24 pm

  7. Beautiful photos of such a ‘sweet’ bird.

    February 13, 2016 at 8:41 am

    • Thank you very much!

      February 13, 2016 at 12:14 pm

  8. Curious looking bird. His throat is so pronounced. Love your life list series, Jerry.

    February 13, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    • Thank you very much Judy! I’m working on a post on that subject right now, updating my progress.

      February 14, 2016 at 1:25 am

  9. Great shots of a really cute bird!

    February 14, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare!

      February 15, 2016 at 12:31 am