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Sand Martin | Riparia riparia

The Sand Martin is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Hirundinidae bird family group which includes birds such as Hirundinidae.

The description for the Sand Martin (Latin name Riparia riparia) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Riparia riparia can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 532 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 744. You will find a picture of the Sand Martin on page 801.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Sand Martin between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Sand Martin is known in Afrikaans as Europese Oewerswael.

The Sand Martin has a height of 13 cms and weighs around 13 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured black. The Riparia riparia has a white coloured throat, black legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey

Eyes are brown

Bill is black

Legs are black

Throat is white

Back is brown

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

The Riparia riparia attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

The Sand Martin is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Sand Martin is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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