Common House-Martin

Delichon urbicum




Swallows (Hirundinidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

4 - 6

Incubation Days:

13 - 19

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Vertical surfaces with protective overhang

Nest Material:

Mud pellets, feathers, down, dried grasses, other fibers and lightweight materials


Neotropical Migrant



Common House-Martin: Small, summer migrant to Europe, Asia. Accidental to Alaska. Glossy blue-black upperparts contrast sharply with white-gray underparts. Mantle, crown, a metallic dark blue; wings, tail black-gray. Solid white rump. Legs covered in white down. Female has slightly grayer underparts; Juveniles duller, with brown crown, white areas tinged with gray.

Range and Habitat

Common House-Martin: Strongly migratory. Winters in tropical Africa; remains at breeding sites in Europe and Asia from April to October. Individuals occasionally stray to Alaskan Bering Sea region. Found in varying open habitats, always near water, mud, and nesting sites. Often perches on utility cables.

Breeding and Nesting

Common House-Martin: Builds cup-shaped nest from mud pellets, feathers, and other light materials on vertical surfaces beneath protective overhangs. Often colonial. May reuse nests. Up to three broods per season; four to six white eggs are incubated for 13 to 19 days by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Common House-Martin: Flies for hours hunting insects. Prefers flies, aphids, beetles. Sometimes feeds while perched or clinging to vertical surfaces.


Common House-Martin: Song a nearly constant, fluid, chattering twitter with hissing or buzzing notes: "tseep, tseep, tseep." Call, a plaintive, chirping "prrrtt, prrrtt, prrrtt."

Similar Species

Common House-Martin: Only species with white rump and lacks streamers. Bank Swallow has brown-gray upperparts. Northern Rough-winged Swallow is darker gray. Tree Swallow most similar; lacks white rump. Violet-green Swallow white on cheek and above eye. White-throated Needletail has stubby tail. Fork-tailed Swift has deeply-forked tail.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The upper surface of the back and wings covered with shorter feathers.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X