The swallow is a speedy bird whose migratory habits were known to medieval naturalists. Its notable feature is its forked tail, which is exaggerated in armorial emblazons. The swallow is a period charge, found in the canting arms of Swalow, c.1395 [DBA3 371]. The illustration shows a swallow volant.
The Society also has examples of the “swift”, an heraldically indistinguishable bird. For related charges, see martlet.
Laurencia of Carlisle bears: Per chevron ermine and gules, a swallow volant argent.
John of Ean Airgead, called the Mad Celt, bears: Vert, a chimney swift migrant palewise argent.
Myfanwy Dolwyddelan bears: Quarterly azure and vert, in bend two swallows volant Or.