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Barn Swallow Seasonality - SABAP2


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SABAP2 is the most important bird conservation project in South Africa. This is because conservation interventions depend on knowing the distributions of species and how they are changing. This is a slideshare of the Barn Swallow Seasonality, Migration and Breeding.

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Barn Swallow Seasonality - SABAP2

  1. 1. Animal Demography Unit Department of Biological Sciences University of Cape Town Caitlin Smith and Les Underhill 2017 Figure 1. Barn (European) Swallow, Witpoort road, North West. Photographer ©Tony Archer. Record 6781 in the BirdPix section of the ADU Virtual Museum. Full details at
  2. 2. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica  The Barn Swallow is an abundant, non-breeding Palearctic migrant occurring throughout southern Africa.  It is widespread, and found in almost every habitat in southern Africa. However, it is more common in eastern parts of southern Africa, rather than the drier west.  There are higher reporting rates in moist grassland, fynbos, and woodland, than in semi-arid and desert regions.  You can see all this in the next slide.
  3. 3. SABAP2 distribution map for the Barn Swallow, downloaded 5 June 2017. This is the full year distribution map. Pentads with more than four checklists have reporting rates shown in colour. The highest reporting rates are blue, intermediate rates are green, and the lowest rates are orange and yellow
  4. 4. The annual cycle  Barn Swallows generally nest in caves, crevices and ledges in cliffs, and artificial structures such as barns, bridges and houses.  They have an enormous breeding range, from Ireland, all across Europe, and into parts of Russia east of the Urals, in Asia.  After breeding, they migrate south, reaching southern Africa by late October/early November. They leave during April. Some stragglers have been recorded in May, with records throughout the southern winter months.  The maps that follow show the month by month distribution. Figure 2. Barn (European) Swallow, Rainforest Lodge, Malawi. Photographer © Gary Brown. Record 25406 in the BirdPix section of the ADU Virtual Museum. Full details at
  5. 5. September During September, Barn Swallows start arriving and occur in scattered areas of South Africa. The records are mainly along coastal regions, Gauteng, and Kruger National Park
  6. 6. October During October, arrival is in full swing
  7. 7. November By November, reporting rates are high
  8. 8. December The difference between November and December is most clearly seen around Cape Town. There are now more records from the southwestern corner of South Africa.
  9. 9. January January looks much the same as December. The Barn Swallows are in residence.
  10. 10. February The pattern of distribution from December and January continues almost unchanged into February. The Barn Swallows remain in residence.
  11. 11. March In March the Barn Swallow distribution is just starting to thin out. There are now some pentads shaded yellow and orange, with low reporting rates.
  12. 12. April Decreases can be seen in April, signalling their migration north.
  13. 13. May–August During the winter months the Barn Swallow was recorded in scattered areas of South Africa, especially in the areas with lots of observers. The yellow indicates that reporting rates were very low.
  14. 14. Action points 1. These are awesome results. All atlasers can pat themselves on the back. 2. In the monthly maps, pentads are shown in colour if there are four checklists for the month. It is amazing how many pentads have at least four checklists per month. 3. Every checklist helps towards every plot. This includes both those with Barn Swallow recorded and those without Barn Swallow recorded. 4. Here is a new target, a new challenge. Try to get four checklists per pentad per MONTH!