Various folk traditions consider swallows to be good-luck bringers, so this Friday the 13th, we feature a swallow that needs a share of good luck (and good conservation) itself!
The Bahama Swallow is a medium-sized, trim-looking swallow with iridescent green upper parts, deep blue wings and tail, and white under parts. It closely resembles the Tree Swallow, but can be distinguished by its deeply forked tail. The species is rapidly disappearing throughout its range, and little is understood about its natural history.
Key threats to this bird include the loss of its preferred pine woodland habitat to development and logging, invasive House Sparrows and European Starlings, which co-opt suitable nesting cavities, and severe weather.
The Bahama Swallow would benefit from further surveys of suitable breeding habitat, plus assessment of its winter distribution and habitat requirements.
Natural nest sites should be maintained through a pine snag management program, and the success of nest box usage should be assessed. Perhaps most importantly, the remaining forest in the Bahamas should be protected.