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Plain Martin - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Brown-throated Martin)
Photo by CollinBax
Floamingo Vlie, Cape Town, South Africa, April 2007

Alternative name: Brown-throated Martin

Riparia paludicola


  • Brown upper parts and throat.
  • Slightly forked tail.
  • The color of the underparts vary geographically, varying from white to brownish.
  • Sexes similar, no seasonal variation.

Similar species

Small hirundine with character and behaviour of Sand Martin, but rather more compact form. Both upperparts and underparts duller than Sand Martin, contrasting less and no chest-band. Banded Martin has a brown chest band, white forehead, throat and belly.


Large range in tropical and subtropical Africa.



Seven subspecies accepted:[1]

Grey-throated Martin was formerly included in this species.


Common resident and local migrant to areas of preferably riverine riparian forest. Often near water.


Roosts in reeds in often large communities in non-breeding seasons. Often with other swallows. The breeding pair may roost in burrow. Often seen near wild fires and feeding mammals catching disturbed insects. Concentrates at emergences of termites. Skims bodies of water for food, drink and to bathe. Also bathes in foliage. Will sunbathe in winter from low perches with extended wings facing the sun, especially in the morning to warm up. May dust bathe


Feeds mainly on flying invertebrates that are caught in a short, but wide bill. When available emerging termites. Altricial chicks receive solid food directly from the parent's beak to their beak.


Breeds mainly in winter, but breeding may occur thoughout the year when conditions allow. Breeds communally. Nest is an excavated tunnel in river, gorge bank, mammal burrows or termite nests by both sexes. May utilize old tunnels. Tunnels are dug upwards to a breeding chamber. 2-4 white eggs. Male and female incubate both during 12 days. In Morocco extended range espcially when water is abudant.

Brood Parasites

Plain Martins may be targeted by the Greater Honeyguide.


Twitters softly.


  1. Clements, J. F., P. C. Rasmussen, T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, A. Spencer, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2023. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2023. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BirdLife International (2008) The BirdLife checklist of the birds of the world, with conservation status and taxonomic sources. Version 1. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/spe..._Version_1.zip [.xls zipped 1 MB]. For more details, see: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/taxonomy.html
  3. Trevor Carnaby, Beat About The Bush, Birds, www.Jacana.co.za, ISBN 978-1-77009-241-9

Recommended Citation

External Links

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