Skip to Content

Martin, Common House-

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
User avatar
arks
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3405
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)

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)?

Image

Image
RSA 2015
1-30 June Darling
30 June-8 July National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
8-15 July Mountain Zebra
16-22 July Cape Town
* * *
16-28 November Cape Town
29 November-20 January Darling

User avatar
DotDan
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2022
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:08 am
Location: Leeu Valley

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:

User avatar
arks
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3405
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)

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!
RSA 2015
1-30 June Darling
30 June-8 July National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
8-15 July Mountain Zebra
16-22 July Cape Town
* * *
16-28 November Cape Town
29 November-20 January Darling

User avatar
Johan van Rensburg
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Award: Birder of the Year (2015)
Award: Birder of the Year (2014)
Posts: 2289
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Jam Street

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.

Image

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.

Image
676 Latest lifers: Short-clawed lark, Caspian plover, Western marsh harrier, Rüppell's vulture, Spotted crake

User avatar
wildtuinman
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 4574
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Location: Chasing down the rarities

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.

Image
674
Latest Lifer(s): Cape Rock-jumper, Grey Waxbill, Great Winged Petrel, European Storm-Petrel, Wilson's Storm-Petrel, Cory's Shearwater

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


Return to “Birding in Southern Africa”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


Webcam Highlights

Addo
Submitted by Anonymous at 19:35:07
orpen
Submitted by jobi at 03:45:27
satara
Submitted by JeanetteAnne at 03:15:06
nossob
Submitted by Pjw at 21:18:22