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 (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, and feed on aerial insects. 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.