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Warou, the Welcome Swallow nest

Warou, swallow nest with 5 chicks peering out

Warou, swallow's nest with 5 chicks, Waikanae, New Zealand, November 2021, M. Prachett. "Thanks for putting up with us, Maureen."

Warou, the welcome swallow nest

Warou are building a nest under the eaves of the cottage by the back door. They built a nest there in exactly the same place some years before and reared many broods in spite of the heavy traffic in and out of the cottage and the presence of cats. The Siamese cats felt positively persecuted by their twittering presence as they could never manage to get anywhere near them.

However, the nest was dislodged, luckily after the nesting season was over, by one of the frequent earthquakes we have around here and the site abandoned.

For the last few years they have been nesting in an old empty water reservoir by the barn and there have successfully reared many broods. The reservoir has a heavy wooden lid on it with a hole just big enough for them to fly in and out so it was probably considered a safer place to nest than the cottage.

Now they are back, or perhaps their offspring as the reservoir is already occupied. How welcome they are here, twittering and chattering away as they set about building the nest.

Having the opportunity of watching them closely, I can say with certainty that the nest is made of small pellets of mud picked up from around the water trough in from of the cottage. The nest is built up line by line, the mud mixed with short lengths of grass to give greater adherence to the structure and lined with hair, wool and feathers. In shape the nest resembles a shallow bowl and was completed in just a few days with both birds sharing the workload.

 — Narena Olliver, Waiotahi Valley, 1999.

Taxonomy  
Kingdom: Animalia.
Phylum: Chordata.
Class: Aves.
Order: Passeriformes.
Family: Hirundinidae.
Genera: Hirundo.
Species: tahitica.
Sub Species: neoxena
Other common names:  —

house swallow, pacific swallow

Description:  —  Native bird

15 cm., 14 g., graceful, dark blue and white, variable amounts of rusty red on the head and breast. They have streamlined bodies with a short neck and long, pointed wings. The tail is a deeply forked “swallowtail”.

Where to find:  — 

Widespread but more common in the warmer northern North Island.

More Information:  — 

Warou, the welcome swallow
LINK to Warou Main Page

Credit for the photograph: — 

M. Prachett

Reference(s): — 

Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.

Oliver, W.R.B. New Zealand Birds, 1955.

Page date & version: —  Thursday, 10 February, 2022; ver2022v1