Purple Martin: Large, vocal swallow with glossy dark purple-blue body and forked tail. It is the largest North American swallow. Black bill, legs and feet. Stong, graceful flight, alternates a few rapid wing beats with long glides. Catches and eats insects in flight and also forages on the ground.
Range and Habitat
Purple Martin: Breeds from British Columbia, central interior Canada, and Nova Scotia southward, but is absent from the interior western mountains and Great Basin. Spends winters in the tropics. Preferred habitats include open woodlands, residential areas, and agricultural lands.
The Purple Martin has a large range, estimated globally at 5,700,000 square kilometers. Native to the Americas and nearby island nations, this bird prefers temperate, subtropical, or tropical forest and shrubland ecosystems as well as inland wetlands and even pastureland and urban areas. The global population of this bird is estimated at 11,000,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Purple Martin is Least Concern.
The Purple Martin was first described in 1758 by Carolus Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist.
Birds in eastern North America now nest almost exclusively in birdhouses, but those in the West use mostly natural cavities.
Native Americans hung up empty gourds for these birds to nest in before Europeans arrived in North America.
A group of purple martins are collectively known as a "colony" of martins.