Purple Martin

Progne subis

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Swallows (Hirundinidae)

Code 4

PUMA

Code 6

PROSUB

ITIS

Egg Color:

White



Number of Eggs:

3 - 8



Incubation Days:

15 - 18



Egg Incubator:

Female



Nest Location:

5 - 20 feet above ground.



Nest Material:

Grasses, leaves, mud, feathers, and bits of debris.



Migration:

Migratory



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General

Purple Martin: Large, vocal swallow with glossy dark purple-blue body and forked tail. Female and juvenile have duller upperparts and mostly gray underparts, with paler throats, breasts, and bellies. First spring male resembles female but may show some purple and has darker throat.

Range and Habitat

Purple Martin: Breeds from British Columbia, central interior Canada, and Nova Scotia southward, but is largely absent from the interior western mountains and Great Basin. It is most common in the Midwest and eastern states. Spends winters in the tropics. Preferred habitats include open woodlands, residential areas, and agricultural lands.

Breeding and Nesting

Purple Martin: Three to eight white eggs are laid in a cavity lined with mud, grass, and other plant material. Most nest in colonies in man-made birdhouses in developed areas and parklands. Incubation ranges from 15 to 18 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Purple Martin: Feeds on flying insects; catches prey in mid-air, flying at up to 45 mph or more when foraging. Weather unfavorable for insect activity lasting three or more days puts it at risk of starvation.

Readily Eats

Bread Products, Raisins, Currants, Nut Meal

Vocalization

Purple Martin: Emits a liquid, gurgling warble and a penetrating "tee-tee-tee."

Similar Species

Purple Martin: Male is distinct; female is larger and flaps more slowly than Bank and Northern Rough-winged swallows.

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X