Barn swallows’ role mosquito control

Barn swallow is a bird belonging to the sparrow family called Passerines. They are known for ‘wintering’ in India. Wintering is when they migrate to more tropical areas from their traditional breeding grounds during the colder winter months. They usually arrive in the southern states by August. They are noted for being air borne insectivores. Because of their unique pattern of flight, they are valuable mosquito control agents. The birds feed on both adult and larval mosquitoes off the water surface. Their feeding method is called ‘swarming’ by which they glide close to the ground with their beaks open. The insects get collected in their mouths. Their feeding maneuver is loosely compared to the Pelican’s method called rafting by which they collect fishes off shallow water bodies. The birds were in news for their mosquito controlling activity in Chennai.

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