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Caribbean Martin - BirdForum Opus

Male colored bird. Photo by raulqc
Vieques, Puerto Rico, June 2007
Progne dominicensis


Female colored bird. Photo by obasanmi
Photo taken: Arnos Vale, Tobago

A large swallow of about 20 cm (8 inches) with upperparts, head and throat blue-black, sharply demarcated from white lower breast and belly. Flight-feathers and tail tend to be more black then the rest of the upperparts.

Female tends to have lighter upperpart than the male, with a brown wash.

Juveniles are almost identical to females, but if newly fledged retain a yellow side to the bill.


Photo © by NJLarsen
North Point, Barbados, 2 July 2023

Found from Jamaica and Hispaniola east and then south through the Lesser Antilles to Tobago but not Trinidad. It is mostly absent from this area during October through December, presumably migrating to northern South America (Venezuela to the Guianas). In January more likely to be seen in wandering flocks than at breeding location.


This is a monotypic species[1].


In Dominica primarily seen along the coast, both breeding in towns and on rocky cliffs. Elsewhere also found along freshwater bodies.

During the day in Barbados they may be found along the coast as well as inland in pastures and fields and often seen perched in large numbers along high tension wires. On evenings, they can be seen in large numbers perched on the side of tall buildings.



Fairly common breeding resident in the West Indies from January through to September. The 3-6 eggs are incubated for 15 days; the young fledge 26-27 days later.


The diet includes insects.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Birdforum member personal observations
  3. Raffaele, H, J Wiley, OH Garrido, A Keith, JI Raffaele. 2003. Birds of the West Indies. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691113197
  4. Neotropical birds portal
  5. Wikipedia

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