House Martin Chicks being fed by their Parents at the Nest in High Definition

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The Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum), sometimes called the Northern House Martin or, particularly in Europe, just House Martin, is a migratory passerine bird of the swallow family which breeds in Europe, north Africa and temperate Asia; and winters in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical Asia. It feeds on insects which are caught in flight, and it migrates to climates where flying insects are plentiful. It has a blue head and upperparts, white rump and pure white underparts, and is found in both open country and near human habitation. It is similar in appearance to the two other martin species of the genus Delichon, which are both endemic to eastern and southern Asia. It has two accepted the scientific and colloquial name of the bird are related to its use of human-made structures. It builds a closed cup nest from mud pellets under eaves or similar locations on buildings usually in is hunted by the Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo), and like other birds is affected by internal parasites and external fleas and mites, although its large range and population mean that it is not threatened globally. Its proximity to humans has resulted in some cultural and literary Common House Martin was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae in 1758 as Hirundo urbica, but was placed in its current genus, Delichon, by Thomas Horsfield and Frederic Moore in 1854. Delichon is an anagram of the Ancient Greek term (cheldn), meaning 'swallow', and the species name urbicum (urbica until 2004, due to a misunderstanding of Latin grammar) means 'of the town' in genus Delichon is a recent divergence from the Barn Swallow genus Hirundo, and its three members are similar in appearance with blue upperparts, a contrasting white-rump, and whitish underparts. In the past, the Common House Martin was sometimes considered to be conspecific with the Asian House Martin (D. dasypus), which breeds in the mountains of central and eastern Asia and winters in Southeast Asia, and it also closely resembles the Nepal House Martin (D. nipalense), a resident in the mountains of southern Asia. Although the three Delichon martins are similar in appearance, only D. urbicum has a pure white rump and Common House Martin has two geographical subspecies, the western nominate subspecies D. u. urbicum, and the eastern D. u. lagopodum, which was described by German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas in 1811. Other races, like meridionalis from around the Mediterranean have been described, but the claimed differences from the nominate race are clinal, and therefore probably adult Common House Martin of the western nominate race is 13 centimetres ( in) long, with a wing span of 26--29 centimetres ( in) and a weight averaging grammes ( oz). It is steel-blue above with a white rump, and white underparts, including the underwings; even its short legs have white downy feathering. It has brown eyes and a small black bill, and its toes and exposed parts of the legs are pink. The sexes are similar, but the juvenile bird is sooty black, and some of its wing coverts and quills have white tips and edgings. D. u. lagopodum differs from the nominate race in that its white rump extends much further onto the tail, and the fork of its tail is intermediate in depth between that of D. u. urbicum and that of the Asian House white rump and underparts of the Common House Martin, very noticeable in flight, prevent confusion with other widespread Palaeoarctic swallows such as the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), Sand Martin (Riparia riparia) or Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica). In Africa, confusion with Grey-rumped Swallow (Pseudhirundo griseopyga) is possible, but that species has a grey rump, off-white underparts and long, deeply forked tail. The Common House Martin flies with a wing beat averaging beats per second, which is faster than the wing beat of beats per second for the Barn Swallow, but the flight speed of 11 ms1 (36 fts1) is typical for Common House Martin is a noisy species, especially at its breeding colonies. The male's song, given throughout the year, is a soft twitter of melodious chirps. The contact call, also given on the wintering grounds, is a hard chirrrp, and the alarm is a shrill credit: PristurusLicense: CC BY-SA

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