Tree martin

The tree martin (Petrochelidon nigricans) is a member of the swallow family of passerine birds. It breeds in Australia, mostly south of latitude 20°S, and in Timor. It is migratory, wintering through most of Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia east of the Wallace Line and the Solomon Islands. It is a vagrant to New Zealand, where it has bred, and New Caledonia. This species is frequently placed in the genus Hirundo as Hirundo nigricans.

This is a bird of open woodland, preferably with large trees to provide nest holes. It is increasingly common in urban and suburban areas.

Tree martin
Tree Martin (4468433245)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Genus: Petrochelidon
Species:
P. nigricans
Binomial name
Petrochelidon nigricans
(Vieillot, 1817)

Description

The tree martin averages 13 cm long and has a shallowly forked tail. The adult has an iridescent blue back and crown, brown wings and tail, a rufous forehead and a whitish rump. The underparts are white. The sexes are similar, but young birds are duller and browner, with a paler forehead and pale fringes to the back and wing feathers.

The call of this vocal swallow is a tsweet and the song is a high-pitched twitter.

This species can be distinguished from other Australian swallows by its tail shape and pale rump. The most similar species, the fairy martin, has a rufous head and nape

The tree martin has three subspecies:

  • P. n. nigricans, the largest subspecies, breeds in eastern Australia, except northern Queensland, and is the form that has bred in New Zealand.
  • P. n. neglecta breeds in western and northern Australia. It is slightly smaller than nominate nigricans at 11–12 cm length.
  • P. n. timoriensis, the smallest subspecies, breeds mainly in Timor. It has dark streaks on the throat and neck.

Behaviour

Tree martins breed, depending on region, from July through to January, either in pairs or semi-colonially depending on nest site availability. Nests are constructed in natural holes in dead trees or rock crevices, but increasingly in artificial sites on bridges and buildings. This is most common in western Australia, where breeding occurs even in large cities like Adelaide and Perth. Tree martins also occasionally reline the nests of welcome swallows, and may displace the owners to obtain the nest.

The nest, unusually for a cliff swallow, is often made just from grass and leaves, but may be reinforced with mud. A mud and plant fibre cement is also used to reduce the width of the entrance to the breeding hole. The clutch is 3-5, usually four, brown and mauve-spotted white eggs, and this species is often double-brooded.

Tree martins have a fast twisting flight and feed higher than welcome swallows, often more than 6 m above the ground. They are frequently seen above tall eucalyptus trees catching aerial insects above the canopy, but will also feed on insect swarms low over water. This species can be highly gregarious when not breeding, and will form mixed flocks with fairy martins.

Various views and plumages

Tree Martin Rottnest

Tree martin lands on branch

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Hirundo nigricans". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  • Turner, Angela K; Chris Rose (1989). Swallows & Martins: An Identification Guide and Handbook. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-51174-7.
  • Birds of Perth
Atticora

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)

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.

Black-and-rufous swallow

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

Fairy martin

The fairy martin (Petrochelidon ariel) is a member of the swallow family of passerine birds which breeds in Australia. It is migratory wintering through most of Australia, with some birds reaching New Guinea and Indonesia. It is increasingly a wanderer to New Zealand, where it may have bred. This species is frequently placed in the genus Hirundo as Hirundo ariel. It is [[monotypic]]

This is a bird of open country near water, and is usually seen near its nest sites in cliffs, culverts or bridges.

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.

Grey-rumped swallow

The grey-rumped swallow (Pseudhirundo griseopyga) is a species of bird in the monotypic genus, Pseudhirundo, in the family Hirundinidae.

It is found in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

H. nigricans

H. nigricans may refer to:

Haplochromis nigricans, Boulenger, 1906, a fish species in the genus Haplochromis

Heliotropium nigricans, a plant species endemic to Yemen

Hexatoma nigricans, Edwards, 1927, a crane fly species in the genus Hexatoma

Hirundo nigricans, the tree martin, a bird species found in Australia

Hypoplectrus nigricans, a hamlet fish from the Western Atlantic

Hypentelium nigricans, the northern hogsucker, a sucker fish species found in the rivers of the Mississippi basin from Oklahoma and Alabama northward to Minnesota

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.

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.

Swallow

The swallows, martins and saw-wings, or Hirundinidae, are a family of passerine birds found around the world on all continents, including occasionally in Antarctica. Highly adapted to aerial feeding, they have a distinctive appearance. The term Swallow is used colloquially in Europe as a synonym for the barn swallow. There are around 90 species of Hirundinidae, divided into 19 genera, with the greatest diversity found in Africa, which is also thought to be where they evolved as hole-nesters. They also occur on a number of oceanic islands. A number of European and North American species are long-distance migrants; by contrast, the West and South African swallows are non-migratory.

This family comprises two subfamilies: Pseudochelidoninae (the river martins of the genus Pseudochelidon) and Hirundininae (all other swallows, martins and saw-wings). Within the Old World, the name martin tends to be used for the squarer-tailed species, and the name swallow for the more fork-tailed species; however, there is no scientific distinction between these two groups. Within the New World, "martin" is reserved for members of the genus Progne. (These two systems are responsible for the sand martin being called "bank swallow" in the New World.)

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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