house martin(redirected from House marten)
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(Delichon urbica), a bird of the family Hirundinidae, order Passeriformes. Body length, 15 cm; weight, about 20 g. The feathers are black with a blue gloss; the middle of the body has a wide white band; the underside of the body is white. The house martin is widely distributed in Europe, Asia (except the far north), and North Africa. The bird winters in Africa and Southeast Asia. It arrives in the temperate zone in May and leaves in September. It nests in colonies, building a nest from mud and attaching it to the outer walls of buildings under eaves, under bridges, in caves, and in other similar places. The nest is hemispherical with an entrance in the upper part. Both parents take part in building the nest. The clutch contains four to six, rarely three, eggs. Both parents sit on the eggs for 14–17 days. The house martin feeds on insects, which it catches in the air.