Common House Martin
Delichon urbicum

>> GENERAL >>>>>

– slightly smaller than House Sparrow, longer-winged
– diurnal migrant, possibly nocturnal as well
– migrates singly, or (more regularly) in small, loose flocks
– usually not very vocal during migration

>> VISUAL ID >>>>>


Common House Martin Delichon u. urbicum, AD
BIF0425, 13/08/2013, Prignitz, Germany, Mathias Putze
– white rump stands out as best ID feature
– ssp. urbicum with dark uppertail coverts
– dull black wings contrasting to shining black back


Common House Martin Delichon u. urbicum, AD
BIF0426, 05/06/2013, Prignitz, Germany, Mathias Putze
– tail deeper forked than in Sand Martin


Common House Martin Delichon u. urbicum, AD
BIF0427, 13/08/2013, Prignitz, Germany, Mathias Putze
– typical silhouette of a martin
– underside completely pure white
– uniformly pale underwing
– sharp contrast between black forehead and cheeks and white throat


Common House Martin Delichon u. urbicum, 1CY
BIF3122, 13/08/2017, Innichen, Italy, Roland Neumann
– 1CY can show a more or less distinct greyish collar but never as broad and contrasty as in Sand Martin


Common House Martin Delichon urbicum lagopodum, AD
BIF0510, 07/06/2014, Numrog, Mongolia, Mathias Putze
– Asian ssp. lagopodum with white uppertail coverts


Common House Martin Delichon urbicum lagopodum, AD
BIF0511, 07/06/2014, Numrog, Mongolia, Mathias Putze
– greyish flanks in AD only shown by lagopodum

>> ACOUSTIC ID >>>>>
– not very vocal during migration
monophonic flight call with inharmonic partials
– each call is a phrase consisting of three variable upslurs or overslurs
– uttered singly or as doublet
– main energy between 2,2 and 6kHz
– dry, hard, rolling impression
– quite different from other Swallows and Martins


– detail –

– standard –

– overview –
Common House Martin Delichon u. urbicum, AD, call in flight
BIF0428, 12/05/2009, Greifswalder Oie, Germany, Patrick Franke


Common House Martin Delichon u. urbicum, AD, call in flight
BIF3112, 22/08/2012, Witt, Germany, Patrick Franke

Common House Martin Delichon u. urbicum, nocturnal flight call
BIF3113, 17/07/2015, Jüterbog-West, Germany, Patrick Franke

>> COMPARISON SPECIES >>>>>

Sand Martin (v)
Eurasian Crag Martin (v)
Brown-throated Martin (v)
Pale Crag Martin (v)
Barn Swallow (v)
Red-rumped Swallow (v)
Little Swift (v)

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