Common House Martin

Also known as the House Martin or Northern House Martin, the Common House Martin is a migratory passerine swallow that breeds in many areas around the world such as Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is one of the 2 martin species that make up the genus Delichon.

540px Delichon urbica NRM e1292851059533 Common House Martin
The Common House Martin can be found in Europe, Asia, and Africa

This bird was first scientifically described by Carolus Linnaeus in his work from 1758, Systema Naturae. He called it the Hirundo urbica, but in 1854, Frederic Moore and Thomas Horsfield placed it in its current genus of Delichon.

There are 2 geographic sub-species of the Common House Martin. Those in the west are D. u. urbicum and are the nominate species. In the east, the D. u. lagopodum was first scientifically described in 1811 by the German Zoologist, Peter Simon Pallas. There are other taxonomical variations for those around Europe such as D. u. meridionalis from the Mediterranean, but this has been grouped together with the nominate species.

Common House Martin adults of the nominate species are 13 cm long and have a wing span of 26 to 29 cm. Their average weight is about 18.3 grams. Its plumage is steel blue above, but it has a white rump and white underparts. Its short legs have white feathering. Its eyes are brown, and it has a small black bill. On the other hand, the Common House Martin from the east does look slightly different as it has a larger tail.

4634702221 0f829ed95f Common House Martin
Soaring in the skies

This bird is a noisy species, especially when it is at its breeding colony. They have many songs ranging from melodious chirps to soft twitters. There are also alarms and contact calls.

The Common House Martin has been mentioned in older stories. This includes old legends about House Martins, as well as in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

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