Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Juv House Martin Fair Isle 29/5/13

What appears to be a worn juvenile House Martin was at Fair Isle on 29th May. It’s an interesting bird. I can’t find any documentation of a bird looking like this in May. I can’t rule out an odd hybrid but seems to be a standard juv House Martin. With it being very worn, it may be a bird from last year with retained juvenile feathers, battered by migrating. I can’t find any info about breeding times in Spain etc like the juv Swallow a few weeks previously.
It turned up with a House Martin and a couple of Swallows. It appeared to be a similar size to a Sand Martin but this could be due to the worn wind and tail feathers. It had a greyish wash to the rump. It had dusky vents and sides to the belly. It had a dusky throat/face too. Asian House Martin can be ruled out due to the face/head pattern.
If anyone knows of any similar looking birds or thoughts on the bird it would be great to hear them.
Thanks to Craig Round for the photos.


  1. I did think of Asian House Martin but as you've ruled that out I'm kinda stuck. But I don't see why a small number of House Martins can't breed early in Southern Iberia like Swallows, I'm sure that could apply?

  2. Is there a possibility that the bird couldnt moult into full adult plumage due to lack of condition caused by lack of food and poor weather?

  3. Gibraltar point have a piccy of a house martin x sand martin cross caught and ringed this bird looks very similar.

  4. There are flying young in Turkey in mid May, so Spain and other points south possible.