Common House-Martin

Delichon urbicum

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Swallows (Hirundinidae)

Code 4

COHM

Code 6

DELURB

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Common House-Martin belongs to the sparrow family, and may also be called the Northern House Martin. They prefer to live in open country and lowland areas, such as pastures, meadows and farmland near water. This species breeds in Europe, northern Africa and temperate regions of Asia. In winter months, the Common House-Martin migrates to sub-Saharan Africa and tropical Asia. It prefers areas where flying insects are abundant, as these make up a large part of its diet. This bird typically nests in colonies, and is prey to the Eurasian Hobby. The current conservation rating of the Common House-Martin is Least Concern.

SUMMARY

Overview

Common House-Martin: Small swallow, metallic dark blue mantle and crown; wings and tail are black-gray. Forked tail. Solid white rump distinguishes it from other swallows. Legs covered in white down. Flight is graceful, swift and direct on rapidly beating wings. It soars on wide triangular wings.

 

Range and Habitat

Common House-Martin: Strongly migratory. Winters in tropical Africa; remains at breeding sites in Europe and Asia from April to October. Individuals occasionally stray to Alaskan Bering Sea region. Found in varying open habitats, always near water, mud, and nesting sites. Often perches on utility cables.

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Common House-Martin SONGS AND CALLS

Common House-Martin G1

High-pitched juvenile begging calls.

Common House-Martin G2

"Prreet" calls given in flight near a nest.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"tseep, tseep, tseep", "prrrtt, prrrtt, prrrtt"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Delichon is an anagram of the Ancient Greek term chelidon, meaning 'swallow', and the species name urbicum (urbica until 2004, due to a misunderstanding of Latin grammar) means 'of the town' in Latin.
  • The Common House Martin was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae in 1758 as Hirundo urbica, but was placed in its current genus Delichon by Thomas Horsfield and Frederic Moore in 1854.
  • This species has greatly benefited from forest clearing, which create the open habitats it prefers, and from human habitation which have given it an abundance of safe man-made nest sites.
  • A group of martins has many collective nouns, including a "circlage", "flight", "gulp", "richness", and "swoop" of martins.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

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MantleX
The upper surface of the back and wings covered with shorter feathers.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X