Posted on 17 April 2011

Birdlife SA wys jaarliks in Mei, wanneer Nasionale Voëlweek gevier word, die Voël van die Jaar aan. Vanjaar is die tema Trekvoëls en Birdlife SA het die Europese swaeltjie as hulle Voël van die Jaar vir 2011 gekies as verteenwoordiger van alle trekvoëls. Maar die meeste van hulle het reeds op hulle lang tog noordwaarts vertrek en sal eers weer in die lente terug in Suid-Afrika wees.

 

Volgens ‘n artikel in DIE BURGER van 12 April 2011 deur Neels Jackson, is Voëlweek ingestel om skoolkinders meer oor voëls te leer en berei Birdlife SA tans lesmateriaal voor wat onderwysers in die klas kan gebruik om kinders in te lig oor die verskillende soorte swaels, die verskille tussen swaels en windswaels en trekvoëls in die algemeen. Tot ‘n 100 miljoen Europese swaels trek jaarliks tussen Europa of Asië in die noorde en Afrika in die suide. Bewaringsowerhede regoor die wêreld bestudeer die verandering in die aankoms- en vertrekdatums van trekvoëls as ‘n moontlike aanduiding van klimaatsverandering. Data uit die SA Voëlatlas projek dui juis daarop dat die Europese swaels langer in Europa, waar hulle broei, vertoef as in Suid-Afrika – waarskynlik a.g.v. aardverwarming.

 

In his “Field guide to the Birds of Southern Africa” O.P.M. Prozesky gives a complete identification of the European swallow: 18 cm. Forehead, chin and throat a dark chestnut. Upper parts a glossy blue-black. Broad, glossy blue-black band across the chest. Rest of under parts whitish. Outermost tail-feathers considerably elongated. All the tail-feathers have large white spots on the inner web. Eyes hazel; bill and legs black. Sexes alike, but adult female has shorter outer tail-feathers. Only just before migration do the tail-streamers become evident. But the chestnut chin and throat, and the broad dark band below, distinguish this swallow, at any stage of its plumage, from all the other species. This palaeoarctic migrant is probably the most common swallow to be seen in summer. Usually seen in large flocks, and gather in thousands to roost in reed-beds. Their bodies are slim and they have a graceful flight. They build mud nests attached to walls (Birdlife SA also name them Barn Swallows on their website), either open or closed, and with or without a long tubular entrance.

 

Habitat: Any type of country.
Distribution: Throughout Southern Africa

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