Swallows & Martins

Hirudinidae

Of Australia’s seven recorded species, only the White-backed Swallow Cheramoeca leucosterna is endemic. Other breeding species are the Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena, the Fairy Martin Petrochelidon ariel and Tree Martin P. nigricans. The Barn Swallow H. rustica is a non-breeding migrant, while the Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus and Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica are both vagrants. All are aerial-feeding species with long, pointed wings and short, wide beak, bordered by rictal bristles to enable maximum efficiency when feeding on airborne insects.

Tree Martin

Petrochelidon nigricans This small (10 to 13 cm), swallow-like bird is similar in appearance to the Fairy Martin P. ariel and the Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena , an all three species overlap in range. The Tree Martin can be distinguished by its whitish-grey rump and short V-shaped tail (the Welcome Swallow has a dark rump and usually has long outer tail streamers) and dark blue-black crown...