Ornithological Note 10

Welcome Swallow feeding on insect larvae taken from below surface of water

Jennifer Spry August 09, 2013
Country: Australia
Section(s): feeding behaviour, Food and Feeding

Welcome Swallows (Hirundo neoxena) have been photographed taking insect larvae from below the surface of shallow water in coastal Victoria. The swallows hover 10–30 cm above the water and then strike headfirst at prey. Prey is captured between 2 mm and 20 mm below the surface by plunging their head into the water . After attacks where the head has gone 20mm +/- into the water inlinemedia, but this is not the case if only the bill enters the water. The type of prey captured may be opportunistic as to species provided size is acceptable, but it is predominantly insect larvae. HANZAB, Vol. 7, part B, p. 1525, states: “Sometimes forage by flying low into strong wind, snapping insects, then rising and turning back, then repeating process.” (Higgins 2006), but in the present instance the prey is submerged, not airborne.


Recommended Citation

Spry, J. (2013). Welcome Swallow feeding on insect larvae taken from below surface of water. HBW Alive Ornithological Note 10. In: Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow-on.100010