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Martin, Common House-

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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arks
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Martin, Common House-

Unread postby arks » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:14 am

Two birds that may be impossible to ID from the very few — and very far away — pix that I have :wall:

I saw this second 'mystery bird' at Marakele in early April 2012. Is it possibly a house martin (or is it really impossible to tell)?

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DotDan
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby DotDan » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:12 am

Hi Arks

Difficult to really say with conviction that the second one is a Common House Martin. But eliminating Grey Rump Swallow is easy as it should be more slender and have a deeply forked tail. Pearl Breasted Swallow does not have a pale rump. GOing with those eliminations, I would say yes it looks like a House Martin :wink:

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arks
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby arks » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:12 pm

DotDan wrote:Hi Arks

Difficult to really say with conviction that the second one is a Common House Martin. But eliminating Grey Rump Swallow is easy as it should be more slender and have a deeply forked tail. Pearl Breasted Swallow does not have a pale rump. GOing with those eliminations, I would say yes it looks like a House Martin :wink:

Thanks so much, DD!
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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Martin, Common House-

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:52 pm

Although the common house martin numbers in their breeding range are very large, counting into tens of millions, seeing them in South Africa is often not so easy. They tend to disperse widely on migration into Africa and are often part of large flocks of Barn Swallows, outnumbered here 100:1. By carefully scanning large roosts of swallows as they rest on telephone or power lines, one often finds one or two common martins amongst the swallows. It is easy to spot them as their white rumps and the white underparts stand out amongst the cream and brown of the swallows. Even the feet of the house martins are covered in white feathers.

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In flight, it is also possible to spot the house martin; it white rump white underparts again providing the main ID features as they flit about in mixed species flocks.

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wildtuinman
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Re: Martin, Common House-

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:50 am

I second Johan's statement that they are not easy to find in SA.

There are bizarre records of the House-Martin interbreeding with Barn Swallows. I have recently seen a photograph of an individual ringed in KZN showing just this! Quite bizarre indeed.

Here is my contribution on this topic.

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