Banded martin

The banded martin or banded sand martin (Riparia cincta) is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It is an inhabitant of the African continent.

Banded martin
Banded Martin - Natal - South Africa S4E6413 (16792206620)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Genus: Riparia
R. cincta
Binomial name
Riparia cincta
(Boddaert, 1783)
Banded Martin specimen RWD
specimen at Nairobi National Museum


The 15–17 cm long banded martin has earth-brown upper parts, except for a white stripe above the eye. Its underparts are white, as are the underwing coverts, and it has a dark brown breast band, and sometimes a thin dark line across the vent. Sexes are similar, but the young have a paler breast band and golden tips to the upper part feathers.

It is the largest Riparia species It is easily distinguished from the smaller sand martin by its square tail and white on the underwings, and from the brown-throated sand martin by its white throat. It is less gregarious than those species, and is typically seen in pairs or small flocks.

There are a number of subspecies differing in size and the plumage tones of the upper parts or breast band. Nominate R. c. cincla of southern Africa is the palest form.

Distribution and habitat

The banded martin is found in open habitats such as farmland, grassland and savannah, usually near water. It breeds across Africa from Cameroon and Zaire to Ethiopia south to the Cape in South Africa, although it is absent from the driest regions of western South Africa and southern Namibia.

The southern nominate subspecies of South Africa and Zimbabwe, is migratory, wintering further north, particularly in the west, where it can move sometimes as far as Gambia. R. c. xerica also leaves its drier breeding grounds in Botswana and northern Namibia in the southern winter. Other subspecies undertake local or altitudinal movements often dependent on the rainfall pattern.


This species has a slow erratic flight and frequently perches. Its diet consists of insects, usually taken in flight over grassland. The flight call is che-che-che, and the song is a twittering jumble of chip choop sounds.

The banded martin, unlike the other members of its genus, is not colonial in its nesting habits. Its nest is at the end of a 60–90 cm long tunnel usually excavated by the birds in a natural sand bank or earth mound. The actual nest is a litter of straw and feathers in a chamber at the end of the burrow. Two to five white eggs are the normal clutch, and are incubated by both parents.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Riparia cincta". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  • Sinclair, Hockey and Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa, ISBN 1-86872-721-1
  • Turner, Angela K; Chris Rose (1989). Swallows & martins : an identification guide and handbook. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-51174-7.

External links


Atticora is a genus of bird in the swallow family Hirundinidae. These species are found in South America.

It contains the following two species:

White-banded swallow (Atticora fasciata)

Black-collared swallow (Atticora melanoleuca)

Black-and-rufous swallow

The black-and-rufous swallow (Hirundo nigrorufa) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.

Brazza's martin

Brazza's martin (Phedina brazzae) is a passerine bird in the swallow family, Hirundinidae. It is 12 cm (4.25 in) long with grey-brown upperparts, heavily black-streaked white underparts, and a brownish tint to the breast plumage. The sexes are similar, but juvenile birds have more diffuse breast streaking and reddish-brown edges to the feathers of the back and wings. The song consists of a series of short notes of increasing frequency, followed by a complex buzz that is sometimes completed by a number of clicks.

The range of this species falls within the African countries of Angola, the Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nesting in burrows in river banks, it lays a clutch of three white eggs. This bird feeds on flying insects, including termites, and may hunt over rivers or open savanna. It forms mixed flocks with other swallows, but is readily identified by its combination of brown upperparts, streaked underparts and a square tail.

Although this little-known bird had been classified as Data Deficient by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it actually appears to be common and widespread, and it has been listed as a species of Least Concern since 2008. There may be some hunting of this martin for food, but the species does not appear to be facing any serious short-term threats.

Forest swallow

The forest swallow (Petrochelidon fuliginosa) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.

It is found in Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria.

Galápagos martin

The Galápagos martin (Progne modesta) is a species of bird in the Hirundinidae family, endemic to the Galápagos Islands.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, pastureland, and heavily degraded former forest.

Horus swift

The Horus swift (Apus horus) is a small bird in the swift family. It breeds in sub-Saharan Africa. It has an extensive continuous distribution from eastern and southern South Africa north to southern Zambia and central Mozambique, and has recently colonised the De Hoop Nature Reserve area of the Western Cape.

It also occurs very discontinuously in much of the rest of the sub-Saharan region, with the Ethiopian mountains and the area from central Kenya into Uganda having large populations. Identification difficulties confuse the limits of this species’ range.

Birds in South Africa are migratory, wintering further north. Other populations are resident apart from local movements.

The Horus swift breeds in old burrows of bee-eaters, ground woodpeckers, kingfishers and martins, which are typically in natural or artificial sandy banks. The flat nest of vegetation and hair, glued with saliva is built at the end of the tunnel and 1-4 eggs are laid. The eggs are incubated for 28 days to hatching, and the fledging period is about 6 weeks. This species is not colonial, but the nature of its breeding habitat means that a number of pairs may be scattered through a bee-eater or banded martin colony. It feeds at middle levels over adjacent habitats, but avoids large towns.

The Horus swift is 13–15 cm long and quite bulky. It appears entirely blackish except for a white patch on the chin and a white rump. It has a medium length forked tail. It has a fluttering flight like little swift. Little swift has a square tail, and more extensive white on the rump than Horus, and white-rumped swift has a more deeply forked tail and a narrower white band. The call is a buzzing peeeeooo, peeeeooo. The paler subspecies A. h. fuscobrunneus of southwestern Angola has a small grey throat patch and a brown rump. The form toulsoni of northwestern Angola and Zimbabwe is a dark morph of nominate A. h. horus, with a dark rump and small throat patch. Both dark forms have sometimes been split as separate species.

Horus, whose name this bird commemorates, was the ancient Egyptian god of the sun, son of Osiris and Isis.

Peruvian martin

The Peruvian martin (Progne murphyi) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae. It is found in Peru and far norther Chile.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical moist montane forest, subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, pastureland, and urban areas. It is threatened by habitat loss.


Phedina is a small genus of passerine birds in the swallow family. It has two members, the Mascarene martin, Phedina borbonica, which has two subspecies in Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands respectively, and Brazza's martin, P. brazzae, which breeds in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Republic of the Congo, and northern Angola. The nearest relative of the Phedina martins is the banded martin, Riparia cincta, which resembles Brazza's martin in nesting habits and vocalisations. Both Phedina martins have grey-brown upperparts and paler, heavily streaked underparts. Adult Mascarene martins are 15 cm (5.9 in) in length, and Brazza's martin is smaller at 12 cm (4.7 in) long. Both species have brown wings, dark brown eyes and a black bill and legs. Juvenile birds have more diffuse breast streaking and pale edges to the feathers of the back and wings than the adults. Both species can be distinguished from most other swallows in their breeding or wintering ranges by the streaking on the underparts and lack of a deeply forked tail. The Mascarene martin has a warbled siri-liri siri-liri song given in flight, but Brazza's martin has quite different vocalisations, its song consisting of a series of short notes followed by a complex buzz and sometimes some final clicks.

Both species typically breed in small groups: the Mascarene martin builds a shallow cup nest of twigs and coarse plant material with a soft inner lining, whereas Brazza's martin makes a small heap of soft material such as feathers or dry grass at the end of a typically 50-cm (20-in) tunnel in a riverbank. The normal clutch is three eggs for Brazza's martin, two for Mascarene martins on Madagascar and Mauritius, and two or three for those on Réunion. As with other swallows, both martins feed on flying insects, hunting in single-species groups or with other swallows and swifts.

Brazza's martin may be hunted by humans, and both species may be infected with a variety of parasites. These swallows may be affected by poor weather when breeding, but neither appears to be under serious threat. The small islands which are the home of the Mascarene martin subspecies P. b. borbonica may be devastated by cyclones, which have the potential to cause severe temporary losses to the populations on Mauritius and Réunion. The legal protection afforded to the Phedina martins varies with jurisdiction, and ranges from none for Mascarene martins on Réunion to special protection for the same species on Madagascar. The Brazza's martin is not a protected species anywhere in its range.

Preuss's cliff swallow

Preuss's cliff swallow (Petrochelidon preussi), also known as Preuss's swallow, is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.


Progne is a genus of birds. The genus name refers to Procne (Πρόκνη), a mythological girl who was turned into a swallow to save her from her husband. She had killed their son to avenge the rape of her sister.


Riparia is a small genus of passerine birds in the swallow family. The genus means "of the riverbank"; it is derived from the Latin ripa "riverbank".

These are small or medium-sized swallows, ranging from 11–17 cm in length. They are brown above and mainly white below, and all have a dark breast band.

These species are closely associated with water. They nest in tunnels usually excavated by the birds themselves in a natural sand bank or earth mound. They lay white eggs, which are incubated by both parents, in a nest of straw, grass, and feathers in a chamber at the end of the burrow. Some species breed colonially.

The cosmopolitan sand martin is almost completely migratory, breeding across temperate Eurasia and North America and wintering in the tropics. The other species are partial migrants or resident.

Riparia martins, like other swallows, take insects in flight over water, grassland, or other open country.

Sand martin

The sand martin (Riparia riparia) or European sand martin, bank swallow in the Americas, and collared sand martin in the Indian Subcontinent, is a migratory passerine bird in the swallow family. It has a wide range in summer, embracing practically the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean countries, part of northern Asia and also North America. It winters in eastern and southern Africa, South America and the Indian Subcontinent.


The saw-wings, Psalidoprocne, is a small genus of passerine birds in the swallow family. The common name of this group is derived from the rough outer edge of the outer primary feather on the wing, which is rough due to recurved barbs. The function of this is unknown. The birds are 11–17 cm long and black or black-and-white in colour. The genus has an African distribution and all species can be found foraging over forest and woodland.

Sinaloa martin

The Sinaloa martin (Progne sinaloae) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.

It breeds semicolonially in sheer cliff faces within pine-oak forests of the Sierra Madre Occidental of western Mexico. Presumed migrant records also come from Belize and Guatemala. It is assumed to winter in South America.

Southern martin

The southern martin (Progne elegans) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.

It is found in Argentina and southern Bolivia ; in winter it migrates to the western Amazon Basin.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical moist montane forest, subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, and urban areas.


Stelgidopteryx (Baird, 1858) is a small genus of swallows. It contains two species:

Adults of both species are brown on top with lighter underparts and a slightly forked tail. They nest in cavities but do not excavate their holes or form colonies.

These birds forage in flight over water or fields, usually flying low. They eat insects.

"Rough-winged" refers to the serrated edge feathers on the wing of this genus; this feature would only be apparent in the hand.

Tumbes swallow

The Tumbes swallow (Tachycineta stolzmanni) is a species of bird in the family Hirundinidae.

It is found in northwestern Peru and far southwestern Ecuador.

Its natural habitats are dry savanna, coastal saline lagoons, and arable land.

Swallows (family: Hirundinidae)


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