Nature Canada

These swallows can be found on almost every continent in the world! Save endangered species today by joining one of our campaigns!

Help End the Extinction

Vital Signs

  • Common name: Bank Swallow
  • Latin name: Riparia riparia
  • Conservation Status: Threatened
  • Range: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon
  • Life span: The longest recorded lifespan is 8 years and 11 months
  • Size: 12-14 cm in length, 10.2-18.8 g in weight, 25-33 cm wingspan
Map created using MapChart

The Bank Swallow is a small bird, and is the smallest North American swallow species. It has a brown back, a white belly, and a white chin. Despite having a white stomach, this swallow’s wings are dark on the underside. It also has a dark band on its breast.

Bank Swallow Facts

  • Are incredibly social birds
  • Make noises that sound almost like buzzing
  • Nest in burrows they dig in places like riverbanks, ocean bluffs, and piles of gravel or sand
  • Wingbeats are very fast and erratic compared to other swallows
Bank Swallow – © to Charles Gates on Flickr, used under Attribution 2.0 Generic


The Bank Swallow faces a number of threats, including loss of breeding and foraging habitat. This is caused by the construction of dams and the conversion of pasture into cropland. These birds are also facing food loss, as pesticides are killing the insects that make up their diet.

What’s Being Done

The Bank Swallow is protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (1994). They’re also protected under acts in Quebec, British Columbia, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, and Saskatchewan.

Bank Swallow – © to Charles Gates on Flickr, used under Attribution 2.0 Generic

Canada has committed to the goal of protecting 30% of lands, ocean, and freshwater in Canada by 2030. This goal will help protect ecosystems, restore habitats, and fight climate change. All these things are a step in protecting Canada’s at-risk animals—so let’s hold the federal government to their promise.

How to Help

  • Help Out: Support habitat conservation and bird conservation initiatives.
  • Learn: Stay informed about endangered species by signing up for Nature Canada’s monthly e-newsletter.
  • Take Part: Join the Save Our Swallows campaign.
  • Find out more: Help us end the extinction by taking action for nature today—visit conservation websites like Nature Canada or join one of our campaigns!


Want to Help?

Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.