Pacific Swallow feeding fledgling
The nest of the Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica) is a half-cup of mud lined with plant materials. This is stuck to the surface of tree stumps, culverts, bridges, verandahs, walls of buildings, etc. These nests are generally reused after repairs. The female incubates the eggs while both parents assist in the feeding of the chicks. The fledgling period is around 20 days with the fledglings returning to the nest at night for the initial few days.
The bird feeds on the wing, foraging for a wide variety of aerial insects in broad swooping flight. Its large mouth and small beak adapt it well to this. It feeds mostly in the late morning and at dusk.
Once the chicks fledge, the parents tend to get them to move away from the nest site where the parents continue to feed them. The fledglings are fed mainly insects. They stay on stable ground while the parent hovers around transferring food into their gaping beak while on the wing.
Input and images by Meng and Melinda Chan.