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25

Sand Martin

(Riparia riparia)
Alternate name(s): "Common Sand Martin", "European Sand Martin", "Collared Sand Martin" (Indian subcontinent), "Bank Swallow" (North America)
German name(s): "Uferschwalbe"

Size: 12-13 cm; wing span: 26.5-29 cm
Weight: 10-19 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Sand Martin at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "riparia"

ADULT

Lateral view of an adult Sand Martin (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, May 2017]

Sand Martins on a ledge of a steep sandy bank (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, May 2017]

Sand Martins on a ledge of a steep sandy bank (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, May 2017]

Overview of Sand Martins in flight near a steep sandy bank (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, May 2017]

Overview of Sand Martins in flight near a steep sandy bank (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, May 2017]

Sand Martins in flight near a steep sandy bank (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, May 2017]

Sand Martins exploring a steep sandy bank for its suitability for nesting (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, May 2017]

Breeding information

Breeding season: May - Aug Eggs: 4 - 6 Incubation period: 14 - 15 days Fledging age: ca. 22 days

Except in the northern-most parts of their breeding range, Sand Martins usually have two broods per season.

Nest building: Female & male Incubation: Female & male Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

Type: Tunnel Material: Sand; straw, feather lining Height above ground: N/A

Sand Martins are the only Eurasian swallows or martins to use a tunnel for nesting. They can sometimes be found nesting in close proximity to several other tunnel-nesting species, such as European Bee-eaters.

Tunnels can be very shallow, more like a recess or a ledge, while others are up to 1 m long.

Overview of a small sand bank with Sand Martin nest tunnels just under the grassy edge; this site, where bird had been observed starting to dig tunnels in May, was already abandoned again in late July, after one breeding cycle (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, July 2017]

Sand bank with Sand Martin nest tunnels (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, July 2017]

Closer view of the entrances to Sand Martin nest tunnels in a sand bank (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, July 2017]

Eggs

Size: 17 x 12 mm Colour: White Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Migratory Elementary unit: Flock

Upon arrival in their summer quarters, Sand Martins have the habit of first staying in areas where they can find early insects, usually around April, before moving on to their breeding grounds.

Food, Diet

Adults: Small insects Dependents: As adults Water intake: Daily(?)

Like all other swallows known to us, Sand Martins are insect hunters. They feed in-flight on small insects.

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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