house martin

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Related to house martin: sand martin

house martin

a Eurasian swallow, Delichon urbica, with a slightly forked tail and a white and bluish-black plumage
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

House Martin


(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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Badger baiting, house martin nest destruction, the shooting of birds and the illegal trade of elephant ivory are just some of the cases he has been involved with.
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WE'VE been delighted with readers' help recording swallow and house martin nests in North Wales, mapped on the Daily Post's farming website ( and added to the North Wales Breeding Bird Atlas.
I know the local team is known as the Bluebirds but the sand martin is an earthy brown bird, unlike its relatives the house martin and the swallow, both of which have dark blue upper-parts.