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Birding Málaga


Common name Common house martin
Scientific name Delichon urbicum
Type Urban birds
Status Summer

Small bird (about 14 cm or 5.5 in), swallow-type but different from this species by the absence of a long and forked tail. It is a songbird with bluish black upperparts and white underparts. Long and pointed wings and short tail with black tips. Fast and agile flight. Frequently perched on the ground or on electricity wires and cornices.


Urban environments

Where it lives

It is an urban bird present in cities, villages and rural and farm houses.

How it lives

Present in Malaga only during the summer season. The Common House Martin breeds from April and May, making two annual layings of 3 to 5 eggs. It is a colonial bird (unlike swallows) which lives and nests in groups. The nest is built by both parents, made of mud and clay and attached to window sills and ledges of external walls of houses and buildings. It consists of a closed hemisphere with a small entrance on the upper edge (those of swallows lack this entrance and are not hemispherical). This bird feeds on small flying insects that it catches very quickly. It is an effective controller of the summer presence of aphids, flies and mosquitoes.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

It is a very frequent and abundant bird that can be seen in any urban or rural space of the province and in almost any stage of the Great Path.

Curious facts

Common House Martins are true artisan potters. They make elaborate mosaics with clay balls to build their nests. But the most curious thing is that the colonies follow a family pattern. The central nest is owned by the couple of older house martins, while the adjacent ones are owned by their descendants, children and grandchildren. The family is extremely faithful to its breeding colony. Each family has its zone delimited in the colony so that the nests of different families do not mix.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration