Tree Martin

Tree Martin, a pair of Tree Martins perched on a lone branch

What does it look and sound like? This small, swallow-like bird is similar in appearance to the Fairy Martin Petrochelidon ariel and the Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena, and 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 (reddish-brown in the Fairy Martin). The remaining upperparts are also blue-black and the underparts are greyish-white, with a reddish-buff wash on the edges of the breast and thighs. All three species have a similar wide gape and adjacent rictal bristles, ad feed on aerial insects.

What are its habitats and habits? The Tree Martin inhabits a variety of habitats, often near wetlands, and most individuals migrate during the southern winter to the warmer parts of northern Australia and to New Guinea.

Scientific name: Petrochelidon nigricans

Size: 10 to 13 cm

Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store