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Bird name:

House Martin

Delichon urbicum

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Swallows (Hirundinidae)

BTO 2

HM

BTO 5

HOUMA

Euring 5

10010
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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

UK Conservation Status


Amber Status

European Conservation Status


Conservation Description


The House Martin is a fairly common summer resident in much of the UK, Isle of Man, and Ireland. However, it has an "Amber" status because of recent population declines.

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BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

House Martin: Small swallow, metallic dark blue mantle and crown; wings and tail are black-grey. White underparts. Forked tail. Solid white rump distinguishes it from other swallows. Legs covered in white down. Graceful flight, swift and direct with rapid wing beats. Soars on wide triangular wings.


Range and Habitat

House Martin: Summer visitor to most of the UK and Ireland, more common in the south and east. Arrives in April and leaves by October. Winters in tropical Africa. Found in varying open habitats, from sea cliffs to lowland farms, also seen in towns and villages. Often perches on utility cables.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"prrrtt", "prrrtt", "prrrtt"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

RELATED BIRDS

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FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Mary Beth Geisel

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

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

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.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.

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ITIS CodesX

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at http://www.itis.gov/advanced_search.html. You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

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Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX