Diet of the nestling Tree Swallow

Jean M. Mengelkoch, Gerald J Niemi, Ronald R. Regal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Dietary samples from nestling Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) in northwestern Minnesota were compared to invertebrate availability as measured by aerial tow nets. The majority of the biomass in the nestlings' diet was adult insects with larval stages of aquatic origin, while absolute numbers of insects of both aquatic and terrestrial origin were similar. Orders of invertebrates in the diet and available were similar in number but not in biomass. Diet showed little variation by time of day, date of sampling or the age of the nestling. The mean number of odonates in the nestling Tree Swallows' diet increased exponentially as the percentage of open water and open water + cattail marsh increased within a 400-m foraging radius.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-429
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Diet
  • Foraging
  • Insect sampling
  • Tachycineta bicolor
  • Tree Swallow

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