AMS407/039/CL360 Fairy Martin Click to enlarge image
Fairy Martin, Hirundo ariel Image: S.G.Lane
© S.G.Lane

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    ariel
    Genus
    Petrochelidon
    Family
    Hirundinidae
    Order
    Passeriformes
    Class
    Aves
  • Size Range
    Up to 12 cm

Small bird, red head, short forked tail.

Identification

A small bird, with blue-black to brown wings, a white underbody and a pinkish-red head. The short, slightly-forked tail appears square in flight. Males and females are similar; juvenile birds are duller in colour.

Habitat

Open country near water, and is usually seen near its nest sites, on cliffs, culverts or bridges.

Distribution

Across Australia



Feeding and diet

Feeds high in the air on flying insects, usually in large flocks.

Communication

The call is a soft, churring and twittering sound.

Breeding behaviours

The Fairy Martin is a member of the swallow family and is known as the 'Bottle Swallow' for its characteristic bottle-shaped mud nests. A colonial nester, these birds build mud nests that are packed closely together on the ceilings of caves, and under bridges or other similar structures. Both sexes build the nest and share incubation and care of the young.