Violet-green Swallow

Tachycineta thalassina


Jeff O'Connell
Search this contributor Profile

eBird Checklist S49369352
Faulk Drive Landing
Leon, Florida, United States
Search this location, Illustrated Checklist
Latitude and Longitude 30.5216, -84.3238 Map



Observation details

I was standing near the end of the road by Lake Jackson with Marcie and Parker scanning the Tree Swallows, which kept flying overhead in small waves. I was looking for anything different, and in particular was checking for Cave. I first noticed this bird when it flew in from the NW and came nearly directly overhead. I was scanning with the naked eye at this point, and noticed that the general impression of this one stood out from the others, in that it was a bit smaller, with a shorter tail and a slightly different flight style (more fluttery and less strong and sturdy than TRSW). The bird had all white underparts and brownish-greenish upperparts, somewhat similar to a female or juvenile Tree. The bird banked, revealing sizable white patches on either side of the rump, and circled around briefly before continuing SSE. Once the bird had vanished to the south, I reviewed my photos on the back of my camera and saw that the bird had a facial pattern typical of VGSW, with white extending over the eye and lacking a sharply contrasting cheek patch typical of TRSW. A few minutes later I saw what I believe to be the same bird heading back north, but the bird was fairly distant to the east. Observation in my binoculars again seemed to reveal a facial and rump pattern consistent with VGSW, with a GISS different from TRSW. I believe this is a hatch-year bird in its performative molt. Marks that suggest hatch-year are the dusky feathers around the face, brownish-greenish shoulder spur, and dullish upperparts. The bird shows some white over the eye, which is typical for hatch-year birds in late fall, and white rump patches that are much more extensive than the white crescents sometimes seen on Tree Swallow. This bird is missing some undertail coverts, which means that the undertail coverts do not reach the tip of the tail, as is typical of adults. This state of molt appears typical, however, for hatch year birds in late fall.

Technical Information

Canon EOS 70D
Lens model
EF400mm f/5.6L USM
Focal length
400 mm
Shutter speed
1/2500 sec
Flash did not fire, auto
Original file size
942 x 628

Related Media

Same Observation

View All

Same Checklist

View All

Same Species

View All