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Purple Martin - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 15:40, 9 June 2023 by 01101001 (talk | contribs) (→‎External Links: improved GSearch; GS checked 1)
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Photo © by HelenB
Houston, Texas, USA
Progne subis


7-8 1/2" (18-22 cm).
The adult male is a dark steel-blue.
Females and Juveniles are duller, with grey underparts. It takes 2 years for these birds to attain full adult breeding plumage. This can make it difficult to identify the birds.


First Summer male
Photo © by Stanley Jones
McAllen Nature Center, McAllen, Hidalgo County, Texas, USA, April 2017

Overhead is similar in shape to the European Starling, but flight more buoyant and gliding.


Breeds from British Columbia, central interior Canada, and Nova Scotia, south to Mexico, but absent from interior western mountains and Great Basin..

Winters in tropics. Migrates south to Brazil. Common in the state of São Paulo.

Accidental vagrant to the UK and to Argentina.



Likely a female
Photo © by Hughv
College Park, Maryland, May 2016

This is a polytypic species[1] consisting of three subspecies[1]:


Forest edges, open woodlands, residential areas, and agricultural land. Often near water.



Their diet consists almost entirely of air-borne insects, particularly ants, wasps and bees.


Their nest is made of grass and plant material. In most of their range they will nest exclusively in man-made nest boxes, though some birds will use tree cavities west of the Rocky Mountains. The clutch consists of 4-5 white eggs.


The call is tchew-wew, or pew pew.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved August 2017)
  3. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

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