Endangered Species:Cliff Swallow

A Christiansburg Elementary Project
Submitted by Hillary
Christiansburg Elementary School, Christiansburg, U.S.A.

Cliff Swallow

Photography courtesy of Virginia's Endangered Species

Why Study This Topic? What Was Already Known Search for Information Description of Plant or Animal Habitat Requirements
Adaptations Reasons for Endangerment Restoration Actions What Was Learned Conclusions from Research

Why Study This Topic?

  Have you ever wondered why a horse is called a horse, or why a moose is called a moose? Have you ever wondered why an animal is called what it is? Usually an animal has its name by what it looks like, its habitat, or even its diet. I wanted to know which one of these possibilities suited the Cliff Swallow. It was hard to decide at the beginning of my research but as I learned more the answer became clear to me. Before this research project I never would have known.

What Was Already Known

  Before searching for the answer to my main question, and an answer to many other question, I didn't know anything at all about the Cliff Swallow. The three things that I knew were obvious. I only knew that the Cliff Swallow is in the swallow family because the name told me it's endangered because this project is for endangered species, and it's a bird. If I hadn't done this research project, I wouldn't have become aware of this endangered species.

Search for Information

 . After a long and exotic search I succeeded in finding the information I needed to know all about the Cliff Swallow. For a long time, I had difficulty finding information. I went with my mother to work at the public library in Christiansburg, Virginia several times and used resources such as the encyclopedia, bird guides, and bird watcher's guides. All of these books provided information that was required. I also scanned the Internet for interesting facts. The Internet wasn't as helpful as I thought, and I gained no information. With the books, I found I was able to write this report. I didn't have many problems witht researching the Cliff Swallow. The only problem was the Internet provided no information.


  A bird the size of the Cliff Swallow could easily fit in an adult's hand. The Cliff Swallow is only six inches long. As you can tell, the Cliff Swallow is a small bird. This type of swallow has a short beak and tail. The upper parts of the Cliff Swallow are steel blue and the lower parts are white. 

Habitat Requirements

  Cliff Swallows nest in colonies (that means they nest together). The colonies of Cliff Swallows will choose their nesting site between any vertical building, bridge, or a cliff.


  Most birds eat the same diet. When you think about what a bird eats, you would usually think of a bird eating insects and bugs. That is exactly what the Cliff Swallow eats, insects and bugs. Throughout the Cliff Swallow's adult life, it will eat flies, spiders, bees, gravel, and berries. Also, on a Cliff Swallow's regular menu is other insects. Baby Cliff Swallows will be fed softer insects. The parents do this so it will be easier for their offspring to digest their food.

Reasons for Endangerment

  Every animal whether it is a bird, reptile, or mammal has a chance it could become endangered if it's ignored or taken advantage of. Any animal could be harmed simply by not realizing wht youcould be doing when you brush away something as simple as a bird's nest. For several years people have been destroying the nests in which so many Cliff Swallows raise their families. Each summer Cliff Swallows go to Virginia and build a new nest and each summer many of them are destroyed. Because this has lasted so long the Cliff Swallow's numbers quickly dropped and now the Cliff Swallows are enlisted as endangered. Not many people realize how important the nests are to a Cliff Swallow. If people don't realize it soon an interesting bird could become extinct.

Restoration Actions

  To help protect the Cliff Swallow, it is listed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is extremely important to never harm a creature that is in danger of being extinct. Hopefully, being part of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act will keep this elegant bird alive. .

What Was Learned

  I learned many interesting things about the Cliff Swallow. I learned that the Cliff Swallow is called the Cliff Swallow, because these birds often nest on cliffs as well as buildings and bridges. I also learned about birds in general and swallows too. I learned why the Cliff Swallow is endangered and what I can do to help. I hope you have too.

Conclusions From Research

  Through this report, I learned to be efficient and to take care in the work that I do. I also learned to use many resources.


  Terwilliger, Karen.1991. "Virginia's Endangered Species" pp. 514,515
Audubon Societies, Birds of America. 1936. The Birder's Handbook . Doubleday and Co., New York.
P. Ehrlich, D. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds. Simon and Schuster Inc., New York.
R. Peterson. 1980. A Field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.

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Christiansburg Elementary
Last updated on March 11, 1997