eWestern BirdsThe Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists
Vol. 51, No. 2
Western Field Ornithologists
Hirundo rustica rustica at Herschel Island–Qikiqtaruk, Yukon—A Barn Swallow Subspecies New to Canada
Cameron D. Eckert and Richard R. Gordon
ABSTRACT: At least three of the 19 Barn Swallows recorded on Herschel Island–Qikiqtaruk, along the Arctic coast of the Yukon Territory, represent the white-bellied Old World subspecies Hirundo rustica rustica. The birds were photographed on 3 July 2010, 24 July 2015, and 19–20 June 2019. These first Canadian records are complemented by five from northern Alaska, west to Utqiaġvik (Barrow). This subspecies breeds in Europe, Africa, and northwestern Asia, east to the Yenisei River. The lack of Alaska records of H. r. rustica to the west of Utqiaġvik and of Canadian records east of Qikiqtaruk suggest that these vagrants reached the New World not by orienting or drifting at the wrong angle but by overshooting their normal spring migration path, following a nearly polar great-circle route.