The Eurasian crag martin or just crag martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris) is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It is about 14 cm (5.5 in) long with ash-brown upperparts and paler underparts, and a short, square tail that has distinctive white patches on most of its feathers. It breeds in the mountains of southern Europe, northwestern Africa and southern Asia. It can be confused with the three other species in its genus, but is larger than both, with brighter tail spots and different plumage tone. Many European birds are resident, but some northern populations and most Asian breeders are migratory, wintering in northern Africa, the Middle East or India.
The Eurasian crag martin builds a nest adherent to the rock under a cliff overhang or increasingly onto a man-made structure. It makes a neat half-cup mud nest with an inner soft lining of feathers and dry grass. Nests are often solitary, although a few pairs may breed relatively close together at good locations. Two to five brown-blotched white eggs are incubated mainly by the female, and both parents feed the chicks. This species does not form large breeding colonies, but is gregarious outside the breeding season. It feeds on a wide variety of insects that are caught in its beak as the martin flies near to cliff faces or over streams and alpine meadows. Adults and young may be hunted and eaten by birds of prey or corvids, and this species is a host of blood-sucking mites. With its very large and expanding range and large population there are no significant conservation concerns.
This bird is closely related to the other three crag martins which share its genus, and has sometimes been considered to be the same species as one or both, although it appears that there are areas where two species' ranges overlap without hybridisation occurring. All three Ptyonoprogne crag martins are quite similar in behaviour to other Old World swallows that build mud nests, and are sometimes subsumed into the larger genus Hirundo, but this approach leads to inconsistencies in classifying other genera, particularly the house martins.
|Eurasian crag martin|
Breeding range(ranges are approximate)
The Eurasian crag martin was formally described as Hirundo rupestris by Italian naturalist Giovanni Antonio Scopoli in 1769 and was moved to the new genus Ptyonoprogne by German ornithologist Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach in 1850. Its nearest relatives are the three other members of the genus, the pale crag martin, P. obsoleta, the rock martin, P. fuligula, and the dusky crag martin, P. concolor. The genus name is derived from the Greek ptuon (πτύον), "a fan", referring to the shape of the opened tail, and Procne (Πρόκνη), a mythological girl who was turned into a swallow. The specific rupestris means "of rocks", from the Latin rupes "rock". There are no generally recognised subspecies. Two races, Central Asian P. r. centralasica and P. r. theresae in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, have been proposed, but the slight differences in size and colour show no consistent geographical pattern. Fossils of this species have been found in Late Pleistocene deposits in Bulgaria, and in central France in layers dated at 242,000 to 301,000 years ago.
The four Ptyonoprogne species are members of the swallow family of birds, and are placed in the subfamily Hirundininae, which comprises all swallows and martins except the very distinctive river martins. DNA studies suggest that there are three major groupings within the Hirundininae, broadly correlating with the type of nest built. The groups are the "core martins" including burrowing species like the sand martin, the "nest-adopters", which are birds like the tree swallow that utilise natural cavities, and the "mud nest builders". The Ptyonoprogne species construct an open mud nest and therefore belong to the last group; Hirundo species also build open nests, Delichon house martins have a closed nest, and the Cecropis and Petrochelidon swallows have retort-like closed nests with an entrance tunnel.
Ptyonoprogne is closely related to the larger swallow genus Hirundo into which it is often subsumed, but a DNA analysis showed that an enlarged genus Hirundo should logically contain all the mud-builder genera, including the Delichon house martins, a practice which few authorities follow. Although the nests of the Ptyonoprogne crag martins resembles those of typical Hirundo species like the barn swallow, the research showed that if Delichon, Cecropis and Petrochelidon are split from Hirundo, Ptyonoprogne should also be treated as a separate genus.
The Eurasian crag martin is 13–15 cm (5.1–5.9 in) long with a 32–34.5 cm (12.6–13.6 in) wingspan, and weighs an average 23 g (0.81 oz). It has ash-brown upperparts and paler underparts, and has a broader body, wings and tail than any other European swallow. The tail is short and square, with white patches near the tips of all but the central and outermost pairs of feathers. The underwing and undertail coverts are blackish, the eyes are brown, the small bill is mainly black, and the legs are brownish-pink. The sexes are alike, but juveniles have buff-brown tips to the plumage of the head, upperparts and wing coverts. This species can be distinguished from the sand martin by its larger size, the white patches on the tail, and its lack of a brown breast band. Where the range overlaps with that of another Ptyonoprogne species, the Eurasian crag martin is darker, browner and 15% larger than the rock martin, and larger and paler, particularly on its underparts than the dusky crag martin. The white tail spots of the Eurasian crag martin are significantly larger than those of both its relatives.
The crag martin's flight appears relatively slow for a swallow. Rapid wing beats are interspersed with flat-winged glides, and its long flexible primaries give it the agility to manoeuvre near cliff faces. The average migration flight speed has been measured at 9.9 m/s (32.5 ft/s), less than the roughly 11 m/s (36 ft/s) typical for hirundines, but the data is limited. The bird often flies high, and shows the white spots as it spreads its tail. The vocalisations include short high pli, and piieh and tshir calls resembling those of the linnet and the house martin respectively.
The Eurasian crag martin breeds in mountains from Iberia and northwesternmost Africa through southern Europe, the Persian Gulf and the Himalayas to southwestern and northeastern China. Northern populations are migratory, with European birds wintering in north Africa, Senegal, Ethiopia and the Nile Valley, and Asian breeders going to southern China, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. Some European birds stay north of the Mediterranean, and, like martins in warmer areas such as India, Turkey and Cyprus, just move to lower ground after breeding. The breeding range is bounded by the 20 °C (68 °F) July isotherm, and wintering areas need a temperature of about 15 °C (59 °F) for enough insect food to be available. This is a rare species any distance north of its breeding areas. For example, there are only eight records from the UK, none from Ireland, and the first record for Sweden was reported as recently as 1996. South of its normal wintering range, it has occurred as a vagrant in The Gambia.
Crag martins breed on dry, warm and sheltered cliffs in mountainous areas with crags and gorges. The typical altitude is 2,000–2,700 m (6,600–8,900 ft) but breeding occurs up to 5,000 m (16,000 ft) in Central Asia. The Eurasian crag martin's choice of nest sites is very similar to that of Savi's pipistrelle, Hypsugo savii; the bird and the bat often breed in the same locations and have almost identical ranges in Europe. In South Asia, migrant Eurasian birds sometimes join with flocks of the dusky crag martin and roost communally on ledges of cliffs or buildings.
Crag martin pairs nest alone or in small colonies, usually containing fewer than ten nests. Nests are on average 30 m (98 ft) apart and each pair aggressively defends its breeding territory against other crag martin and most other bird species. Nesting takes place from May to August, and usually two broods are raised. The nest, built by both adults, is an open half cup made of mud and lined with soft material such as feathers or dry grass. It is constructed under an overhang on a rock cliff face, in a crevice or cave, or on a man-made structure. It takes one to three weeks to build and is re-used for the second brood and in subsequent years. The clutch is two to five eggs with an average of three. The eggs are white with brownish blotches particularly at the wide end, and average 20.2 mm × 14.0 mm (0.80 in × 0.55 in) with a weight of 2.08 g (0.073 oz). The eggs are incubated mainly by the female for 13–17 days to hatching, and the chicks take another 24–27 days to fledge. Both parents feed the chicks bringing food every two to five minutes, and the young are fed for 14–21 days after fledging. With such frequent feeding rates the adults mainly forage in the best hunting zones in the immediate vicinity of the nest, since the further they fly to forage the longer it would take to bring food to the chicks in the nest. In an Italian study, the hatching rate was 80.2 percent, and the average number of fledged young was 3.1.
The crag martin has over the last few decades increasingly used houses and other man-made sites to nest. This greater availability of breeding sites has enabled the species to expand its range, but it is possible that this will lead to competition with other hirundines, such as the barn swallow and common house martin, which also use artificial nest sites.
An Italian study showed that, as with other aerial feeders, the start of breeding was delayed by cold or wet weather, but this had no influence on the clutch size nor on the number of fledged young. Unexpectedly, it was found that once the eggs had hatched there was a negative relationship between temperature and the number of fledged young. The authors suggested that hot weather dried up the small rivers where the parents found food. Colony size did not influence the laying date, the clutch size or the number of successfully fledged young, but this species does not form large colonies anyway.
The Eurasian crag martin feeds mainly on insects caught in its beak in flight, although it will occasionally take prey items off rocks, the ground, or a water surface. When breeding, birds often fly back and forth near to a rock face hunting for insects, feeding both inside and outside the nesting territory. At other times, they may hunt flying above streams or alpine meadows. The insects taken depend on what is locally available and may include flies, ants, aerial spiders, and beetles. Aquatic species such as stoneflies, caddisflies and pond skaters appear to be important in at least Spain and Italy. Unlike other hirundines, these birds feed close to their breeding sites, and may be locally vulnerable to fluctuations in insect availability. This martin is gregarious outside the breeding season, and may form sizeable flocks where food is abundant. Cliff faces generate standing waves in the airflow which concentrate insects near vertical areas. The crag martin exploits the area close to the cliff when it hunts, relying on its high manoeuvrability and ability to perform tight turns.
This species is occasionally hunted by the peregrine falcon, which shares its mountain habitat, and during its migration over the Himalayas, it is reported to be subject to predation by crows. Common kestrels, Eurasian sparrowhawks, Eurasian jays and common ravens are also treated as predators and attacked by repeated dives if they approach nesting cliffs. Despite the general aggressiveness of the martin, it tolerates sympatric common house martins, perhaps because the large numbers of that highly colonial species provide an early warning of predators.
The crag martin is a host of blood-sucking mites of the genus Dermanyssus, including D. chelidonis, and of the nasal mite Ptilonyssus ptyonoprognes. Two new species of parasites were first discovered on this martin, the fly Ornithomya rupes in Gibraltar and the flea Ceratophyllus nanshanensis from China.
The European population of the Eurasian crag martin is estimated to be 360,000–1,110,000 individuals, including 120,000–370,000 breeding pairs. A rough estimate of the worldwide population is 500,000–5,000,000 individuals, with Europe hosting between one-quarter and one-half of the total. The population is estimated to be increasing following a northward expansion, which may be partly due to increased use of man-made structures as nest sites. Expansions of the range have been reported in Austria (where motorway bridges are used as nest sites), Switzerland, the former Yugoslavia, Romania, and Bulgaria. With its very large range and high numbers, the Eurasian crag martin is not considered to be threatened, and it is classed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
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.Crag martin
The crag martins are four species of small passerine birds in the genus Ptyonoprogne of the swallow family. They are the Eurasian crag martin (P. rupestris), the pale crag martin (P. obsoleta), the rock martin (P. fuligula) and the dusky crag martin (P. concolor). They are closely related to each other, and have formerly sometimes been considered to be one species. They are closely related to the Hirundo barn swallows and are placed in that genus by some authorities. These are small swallows with brown upperparts, paler underparts without a breast band, and a square tail with white patches. They can be distinguished from each other on size, the colour shade of the upperparts and underparts, and minor plumage details like throat colour. They resemble the sand martin, but are darker below, and lack a breast band.
These are species of craggy mountainous habitats, although all three will also frequent human habitation. The African rock martin and the south Asian dusky crag martin are resident, but the Eurasian crag martin is a partial migrant; birds breeding in southern Europe are largely resident, but some northern breeders and most Asian birds are migratory, wintering in north Africa or India. They do not normally form large breeding colonies, but are more gregarious outside the breeding season. These martins build neat mud nests under cliff overhangs or in crevices in their mountain homes, and have readily adapted to the artificial cliffs provided by buildings and motorway bridges. Up to five eggs, white with dark blotches at the wider end, may be laid, and a second clutch is common. Ptyonoprogne martins feed mainly on insects caught in flight, and patrol cliffs near the breeding site with a slow hunting flight as they seek their prey. They may be hunted by falcons and infected with mites and fleas, but their large ranges and populations mean that none of the crag martins are considered to be threatened, and all are classed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.Craig Martin
Craig Martin may refer to:
Craig Martin (soccer) (born 1957), former Canadian national soccer team player
Craig Martin (ice hockey) (born 1971), retired Canadian professional ice hockey player
Craig L. Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Jacobs Engineering GroupDusky crag martin
The dusky crag martin (Ptyonoprogne concolor) is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It is about 13 cm (5 in) long with a broad body and wings, and a short square tail that has small white patches near the tips of most of its feathers. This martin has sooty-brown upperparts and slightly paler underparts. The two subspecies are resident breeding birds in South Asia from the Indian subcontinent to southwestern China and the northern parts of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
This martin nests under a cliff overhang or on a man-made structure, building a neat half-cup mud nest with a soft lining. Both adults incubate the two to four eggs and feed the chicks. This species does not form large breeding colonies, but it is more gregarious outside the breeding season. It feeds a wide variety of insects that are caught as the martin flies near to cliff faces. It may be hunted by large bats as well as birds of prey, but its extensive and expanding range and large population mean that there are no significant conservation concerns.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.Pale crag martin
The pale crag martin (Ptyonoprogne obsoleta) is a small passerine bird in the swallow family that is resident in northern Africa and in southwestern Asia east to Pakistan. It breeds mainly in the mountains, but also at lower altitudes, especially in rocky areas and around towns. Unlike most swallows, it is often found far from water. It is 12–13 cm (4.7–5.1 in) long, with mainly brown plumage, paler-toned on the upper breast and underwing coverts, and with white "windows" on the spread tail in flight. The sexes are similar in appearance, but juveniles have pale fringes to the upperparts and flight feathers. It was formerly considered to be the northern subspecies of the rock martin of southern Africa, although it is smaller, paler, and whiter-throated than that species. The pale crag martin hunts along cliff faces for flying insects using a slow flight with much gliding. Its call is a soft twitter.
This martin builds a deep bowl nest on a sheltered horizontal surface, or a neat quarter-sphere against a vertical rock face or wall. The nest is constructed with mud pellets and lined with grass or feathers, and may be built on natural sites under cliff overhangs or on man-made structures such as buildings and bridges. It is often reused for subsequent broods or in later years. This species is often a solitary breeder, but small groups may breed close together in suitable locations. The two or three eggs of a typical clutch are white with brown and grey blotches, and are incubated by both adults for 16–19 days prior to hatching. Both parents then feed the chicks. Fledging takes another 22–24 days, although the young birds will return to the nest to roost for a few days after the first flight.
The pale crag martin is caught in flight by several fast, agile falcon species, such as hobbies, and it sometimes carries parasites, but it faces no major threats. Because of its range of nearly 6 million km2 (2.3 million sq mi) and a large and apparently increasing population, it is not seen as vulnerable and is assessed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.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.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
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.Saw-wing
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.Stappitzer See
Stappitzer See is an Alpine lake in the Hohe Tauern mountain range near Mallnitz in Carinthia, Austria. It is located in the peripheral zone of the Hohe Tauern National Park.Stelgidopteryx
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.