PURPLE MARTIN

PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Purple Martin adult male is black with some iridescent dark blue. Adult females and male immatures are dark grey on top with some iridescent blue on the wing shoulders. There is a black smudge around the eye. Under parts are white with light grey spots. Eyes are black. Bill is short and grey, with a large gape. The tail is forked. Legs and feet are grey. Bird length about 20 cm (8 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Progne-subis
NAME: ‘Martin’ is from French and derives from Latin ‘mars’. Latin genus name ‘Progne’ refers to a girl in Greek mythology who was changed into a swallow. Latin species name ‘subis’ refers to an ‘unknown bird’.
HABITAT: Open areas such as fields, parks, wet meadows.
DIET: Insects caught on the fly.
NESTING: Nests in cavities, which can be in a tree, a birdhouse or gourd, or other man-made structures. Around three to five white eggs are laid, incubated by female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeding range covers a small band of southeast Canada and east half of the USA. During migration is seen in Mexico, Central America, Cuba and northern South America. Winters the middle east region of South America.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_martin#/media/File:Progne_subis_map.svg
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings occasional except winter.
CONSERVATION: Population severely declined with introduction of European Starling and House Sparrow in North America. House boxes now are helping the species recovery, but they have to be monitored. House sparrows evict martins from their nests, and starlings kill martin adults and nestlings. The bird is also sensitive to bad weather (cold snaps). In spite of these issues the species is still not considered at risk due to widespread range and large population.
SIMILAR SPECIES: (compare with female purple martin) Bank Swallow, Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow
REFERENCES: http://www.hww.ca/en/wildlife/birds/purple-martin.html (Hinterland Who’s Who)
https://www.thespruce.com/fun-facts-about-purple-martins-387110
https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/purple-martin
https://www.mba-aom.ca/jsp/toc.jsp (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/purple-martin (Missouri Department of Conservation)
https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Progne_subis/ (University of Michigan)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_martin
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Purple_Martin/id
https://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/purple-martin/ (Texas Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://birdatlas.mb.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=PUMA&lang=en (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/purple-martin

Purple Martin - Redmont, WA - May 2008 - photo by J.J. Cadiz, Cajay
Purple Martin – Redmont, WA – May 2008 – photo by J.J. Cadiz, Cajay
Purple Martin, female - Chicago, IL - Apr. 2009 - photo by Shanthanu Bhardwaj
Purple Martin, female – Chicago, IL – Apr. 2009 – photo by Shanthanu Bhardwaj
Purple Martin fledglings - Tulsa, OK - July 2009 - photo by OakleyOriginals
Purple Martin fledglings – Tulsa, OK – July 2009 – photo by OakleyOriginals

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