Swallows are well-known, commonly seen birds. Some species appear downright friendly because they confidingly nest in barns and other buildings. Swallows are also generally easy to see because they tend to spend most of their time up in the air instead of hiding behind leaves like other birds. In Costa Rica, the Blue-and-white Swallow is one of the most common swallow species and the one that you are likely to see swooping above the Central Valley.
A small, long winged bird with short forked tail, the Blue-and-white Swallow is white below and dark metallic blue above. In general, it looks a lot like a Tree Swallow or House Martin. The Tree Swallow occurs as an uncommon winter resident and migrant in Costa Rica but is heftier and lacks the dark vent of the Blue-and-white. Barn Swallow is very common in Costa Rica in winter and will forage with Blue –and-white Swallows but has a much longer tail and is buff to orange-colored on the underparts.
Behavior in Costa Rica
Like other swallows, the Blue-and-white Swallow is an aerialist; it spends most of its time on the wing foraging for small insects and spiders that have become caught in the winds. They roost for the night and often rest during midday on telephone wires, antennas and the eaves of buildings. This swallow is a cavity nester and will utilize anything from a hole in a tree or bank to niches in the eaves of buildings.
Habitat and distribution in Costa Rica
In Costa Rica, the Blue-and-white Swallow mostly occurs in mountainous areas from the Guanacaste volcanoes to the high Talamancas. It can show up in the lowlands as well although it is pretty rare away from the mountains. The Blue-and-white Swallow can occur anywhere in the mountains but is most common around towns and in the Central Valley where houses and buildings provide a huge number of potential nest sites.