Sand Martin ( Riparia riparia, family: Hirundinidae)

sand martin kruger national park birds The Sand Martin (Latin name Riparia riparia) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 532 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 744 also a picture of the Sand Martin on page 801. The Sand Martin belongs to the family of birds classified as Hirundinidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Sand Martin is also known by these other names: European Sand Martin, Bank Swallow, Common Sand Martin.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Sand Martin is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a rare summer resident

In terms of distribution of the Sand Martin in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Sand Martin : see above distribution map.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Sand Martin is a small bird about the size of a house sparrow. Do not take this relative indicator as anything other than a rough easy to remember indicator. It is not a accurate visualization. The height of the Sand Martin is about 13 cms and its weight is about 13 gms

The male and female Sand Martin have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is grey.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is white.
  • Back is brown.
  • Legs are black.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Sand Martin feeds on the ground, and on the wing mainly


Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Sand Martin takes on more than a single mate (it is bigamous).

The nesting habit of Sand Martin is extra limital

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Sand Martin are: grasslands

You will normally see the Sand Martin by itself rather than in the company of birds of the same species.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Europese Oewerswael

German ... Europische Uferschwalbe

Portuguese ... Andorinha-das-barreiras-europeia

French ... Hirondelle de rivage

Dutch ... Oeverzwaluw

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 532

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,