[order] Passeriformes | [family] Hirundinidae | [latin] Riparia paludicola | [UK] Plain Martin | [FR] Hirondelle paludicole | [DE] Braunkehl-Uferschwalbe | [ES] Avión Paludícola | [IT] Topino africano | [NL] Vale Oeverzwaluw

Vale Oeverzwaluw determination

copyright: J. del Hoyo

The 12 cm long Plain Martin is brown above and white or pale brown below. It lacks the narrow brown band on the breast shown by the Sand Martin; the bill is black and the legs are brown. Sexes are similar, but the young have pale tips to the feathers on the rump and wings.

Low latitudes near southern limits of west Palearctic. Consequently tolerates much warmer climates, but exposed to oceanic influences in Moroccan breeding area which reaches up to Mediterranean climatic zone. No significant differences in habitat from Sand Martin.

Its brown back, small size and quicker, jerkier flight separate Plain Martin at once from most other members of the swallow family. It is most similar to the Sand Martin, Riparia riparia , which is its northern counterpart. Where the breeding ranges overlap in southern Asia, Plain Martins tend to breed at lower altitudes than their relative. In the northern winter, both species are found in the same wetland habitats.

No much information known from west Palearctic, elsewhere, diet consists of small flying insects. Takes prey in flight, often over water, often breaks surface in dipping to catch low-flying insects.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km˛. The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as 'common' in at least parts of its range (Turner and Rose 1989). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

The Plain Martin is colonial in its nesting habits, with many pairs breeding close together, according to available space. The nests are at the end of tunnels of 30 to 60 cm in length, bored in sandbanks and build by both sexes. The actual nest is a litter of straw and feathers in a chamber at the end of the burrow. Two to four white eggs are the normal clutch, and are incubated by both parents for about 12 days. Breeding season in Morocco from Nov-Dec.

Morocco population sedentary, breeding durin winter. in East and South Africa, at least partially migratory though such movements not properly understood. In Sudan, apparently moves S after breeding in north of county.