Fairy Martin

Did you know?

The Fairy Martin is known as the 'Bottle Swallow' for its characteristic bottle-shaped mud nests, often made in cliffs or under bridges and culverts.

Calls
Soft, churing notes and twittering.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
11cm
Maximum Size: 
12cm
Average size: 
12cm
Average weight: 
11g
Breeding season: 
Variable; June to December.
Clutch Size: 
2 to 6
Incubation: 
16 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
SA: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
360
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Fairy Martin is a small bird, with dark wings, a white underbody and a pinkish-red head. The short, slightly forked tail appears square in flight. It is gregarious, feeding in large flocks and nesting in colonies.

Similar species: 

The related Tree Martin, H. nigricans, has a black head and a 'dirty' white rump. Martins are generally smaller and 'dumpier' than swallows, and have a shorter, squared rather than forked tail in flight.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Fairy Martin is found across Australia.

Habitat: 

The Fairy Martin prefers open country near water, and is usually seen near its nest sites, in cliffs, culverts or bridges.

Seasonal movements: 

Seasonally migratory, moving north for winter, with some birds flying to New Guinea.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Fairy Martin feeds high in the air on flying insects, usually in large flocks.

Breeding: 

A colonial nester, the Fairy Martin builds bottle-shaped mudnests 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.

Living with us

The Fairy Martin readily uses artificial structures such as bridges to attach its nests to, and will also use inhabited buildings to make its nests on.

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