Martins, Swallows

Streak-throated Swallow

A small, dusky swallow with notched, long, broad tail. Blackish-blue mantle, brown wings, rump and tail and deep chestnut crown. Heavily streaked blackish on face, throat and upper breast. Brown under tail. Often looks very dark. The browner juvenile is often confused with Plain Martin. Has a weak, martin-like flight.

Dusky Crag Martin

Sexes alike. Dark sooty-brown above; square-cut, short tail, with white spot on all but outermost and central tail feathers; paler underbody; faintly rufous chin and throat, with indistinct black streaking. Small parties; flies around ruins, crags and old buildings, hawking insects in flight; acrobatic, swallow-like flight and appearance; rests during hot hours on rocky ledges or some corner.

Plain Martin

Sexes alike. Long wings and slight tail-fork. Grey-brown above, slightly darker on crown; dark brown wings and tail; dull grey below, whiter towards abdomen. A gregarious species, always in flocks, flying around sand-banks along water courses; individual birds occasionally stray far and high; hawks small insects in flight; flocks perch on telegraph wires.

Red-rumped Swallow

Sexes alike. Glossy steel-blue above; chestnut supercilium, sides of head, neck-collar and rump; dull rufous-white below, streaked brown; deeply forked tail
diagnostic. Small parties spend much of the day on the wing; the migrant, winter-visiting race nipalensis, is highly gregarious; hawks insects along with other birds; freely perches on overhead wires, thin branches of bushes and trees; hunts insects amongst the most crowded areas of towns, over markets and refuse heaps, flying with amazing agility, wheeling and banking and stooping with remarkable mastery.

Wire-tailed Swallow

Sexes alike. Glistening steel-blue above; chestnut cap; unmarked, pure white underbody distinctive; two long, wire-like projections (tail-wires) from outer tail feathers diagnostic. Solitary or small parties; almost always seen around water, either perched on overhead wires or hawking insects in graceful, acrobatic flight, swooping and banking; often flies very low, drinking from the surface; roosts in reed beds and other vegetation, often with warblers and wagtails.

Barn Swallow

Bright blue and red long-tailed swallow; upperparts deep glossy blue, with bluish brown wings; chestnutred forehead and throat, with blueblack breast band below; underparts highly variable, depending on race – from white to rufous; long, deeply forked tail, with row of broad white subterminal spots and tail streamers; distinguished from other swallows by dark breast band; in flight, by unbroken dark upperparts, except for forehead; gregarious; often huge flocks in passage; communal rooster; skilled flier; hawks insects low over ground, water.

Sand Martin

Small, dark brown swallow, almost always found near water; upperparts dark brown, wing edges slightly darker, with white throat, half collar and belly contrasting sharply with clearly marked dark brown breast band; clearly forked tail; distinguished from Plain by white throat and half collar distinctly demarcated from dark ear coverts and breast band; gregarious; always with other swallows and swifts; hunts aerially with smallbilled, wide-gaped mouth over water; perches on exposed overhead wires or branches.