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, Asia from April to October. Stray to Alaskan Bering Sea region. Found in varying open habitats, always near water, mud, and nesting sites. Often perches on utility cables.
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.
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.