Northern Rough-winged Swallow

(Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

The Northern Rough-winged Swallow's plain brown back and dusky throat doesn't stand out, allowing it to sometimes go unnoticed in flocks of brighter swallow species. This common summer visitor flies low over water snatching insects in midair and rests on wires, posts, and exposed branches. It nests in burrows excavated by other birds and mammals, and spends the winters in Mexico and Central America. The species derives its name from the outer wing feathers, which have small hooks or points on their leading edges.

The Northern Rough-winged Swallow gets its name from minuscule hooks on the leading edge of their primary feathers. Running a finger along the edge of the feather from base to the tip feels like touching a rough file.

Information from the All About Birds website,, © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.