Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum)


The Northern House Martin is quite small, around 10 to 12 cm in length, with a wingspan around 26 to 29 cm. It is a darkish blue on the back, with a white underside. It is usually seen in flight, where it can be distinguished from Common Swift (Apus apus)by its smaller size and its white patch on the rump. It also has a short, slightly forked tail and the familiar sickle shaped wings.


Like the Common Swift (Apus apus)and the Barn Swallow(Hirundo rustica),the Northern House Martin prefers areas of open country with low vegetation, ideally near water. It can also be found on mountains up to 2.2 km above sea level. They are also much more comfortable in urban environments than Barn Swallows.


Like Swifts and Swallows, the Northern House Martin is an insectivore, catching insects on the wing with its excellent aerial agility. Flies and aphids again make up a large part of the diet.

Protection Status

This species is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Interesting Facts

Old legends depicted that the Common House Martin would wall-up house sparrows by closing the entrance of the mud nest with the intruder insider and gather en masse to kill a sparrow.

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