Asian House Martin    Delichon dasypus

Etymology :

  • Delichon : Anagram of Genus Chelidon for Martins
  • Dasypus : Greek word dasus-hairy; pous-foot { Hairy-footed}

Distribution in India: Resident of Himalayas in India.


Size of 12 cm, wt. of 8 gm. It has a glossy blue crown and back, the rump is white and shorter uppertail-coverts are also white. The wings and tail are blackish brown, the tail is slightly forked; underparts white with grey wash, legs are with white feathering. The underwing-coverts are grey-brown. Both the sexes are alike. Juvenile is duller, with dusky wash on underparts, tertials tipped white, tail squarer.

Habitat: It is found in valleys and gorges in mountainous areas and sea coasts, also human habitations. It is found above 1500 m to over 3000 m. It breeds at 1300–4800 m in India.

Food habits: It eats small dipteran flies, bugs, beetles, Hymenoptera, small Lepidoptera, caddisflies, lacewings, stoneflies,and springtails. It feeds on insects taken in flight. It feeds in flocks, high up, with slow flap-and-glide flight.

Breeding habits: They breed in Mar–Oct in Himalayas. It can have three broods in a season. It is colonial and in small groups. The nest is built by both sexes. The nest is made of mud pellets, often mixed with grass, and lined with feathers and occasionally other material, such as pine needles and moss. The nest shape is variable, depending on where built, can be either enclosed with an entrance hole or open at top; attached to cliff face, cave wall, or occasionally on bridge or building, such as house, temple, hotel or power plant, usually under overhang. They lay a clutch of 2–6 eggs. The incubation and brood-feeding shared by both sexes. The fledglings return to nest for a few nights to roost.