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Riparia riparia

Riparia riparia (*)

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Subordo: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Cladus: Telluraves
Cladus: Australaves
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Infraordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Sylvioidea

Familia: Hirundinidae
Genus: Riparia
Species: Riparia riparia
Subspecies: R. r. eilata – R. r. ijimae – R. r. innominata – R. r. riparia – R. r. shelleyi – R. r. taczanowskii

Riparia riparia (Linnaeus, 1758)

Hirundo riparia (protonym)
Cotile riparia


Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Editio Decima, Reformata. Tomus I. Holmiæ (Stockholm): impensis direct. Laurentii Salvii. 824 pp. DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.542 BHL p. 192 BHL Reference page. 

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Europese oewerswael
العربية: سنونو الرمل
asturianu: Andarina de Ríu
azərbaycanca: Adi sahil qaranquşu
башҡортса: Яр ҡарлуғасы
беларуская: Берагоўая ластаўка
български: Брегова лястовица
বাংলা: বালু নাকুটি
brezhoneg: Gwennili-vriell
català: Oreneta de ribera
kaszëbsczi: Wierzgùlëca
čeština: Břehule říční
Cymraeg: Gwennol y Glennydd
dansk: Digesvale
Deutsch: Uferschwalbe
dolnoserbski: Mały šnapac
Ελληνικά: Βαλτοχελίδονο
English: Sand Martin
Esperanto: Bordhirundo
español: Avión zapador
eesti: Kaldapääsuke
euskara: Uhalde-enara
suomi: Törmäpääsky
føroyskt: Áarsvala
Nordfriisk: Sunswaalk
français: Hirondelle de rivage
furlan: Pic piçul
Frysk: Ierdswel
Gaeilge: Bruachalán
Gàidhlig: Gobhlan gainbhich
galego: Andoriña das barreiras
Avañe'ẽ: Mbyju'i
Gaelg: Gollan Geinnee
עברית: כוכית גדות
hrvatski: Bregunica
Kreyòl ayisyen: Irondèl kolye senp
magyar: Partifecske
հայերեն: Առափնյա ծիծեռնակ
Bahasa Indonesia: Layanglayang Pasir
íslenska: Bakkasvala
italiano: Topino
日本語: ショウドウツバメ
ქართული: მენაპირე მერცხალი
қазақша: Жар қарлығашы
한국어: 갈색제비
kurdî: Sîvanok
lietuvių: Urvinė kregždė
latviešu: Krastu čurkste
македонски: Песочна ластовица
монгол: Элсэн хараацай
кырык мары: Ляркӓ
Bahasa Melayu: Burung Layang-layang Awan
Malti: îawwiefa tax-Xtut
Nedersaksies: Zaandzwelver
Nederlands: Oeverzwaluw
norsk nynorsk: Sandsvale
norsk: Sandsvale
occitan: Pic pichòt
polski: Jaskółka brzegówka
português do Brasil: Andorinha-do-barranco
português: Andorinha-das-barreiras
rumantsch: Pitgalain pitschen
română: Lăstun
русский: Береговушка
davvisámegiella: Derpmoš
slovenčina: Brehuľa hnedá
slovenščina: Breguljka
chiShona: Nyenganyenga
shqip: Dallëndyshe e lummit
српски / srpski: Lasta bregunica - Ласта брегуница
svenska: Backsvala
Kiswahili: Kinegwa wa Kizungu
ไทย: นกนางแอ่นทรายสร้อยคอดำ
Türkçe: Kum kırlangıcı
українська: Ластівка берегова
vepsän kel’: Malind
Tiếng Việt: Nhạn nâu xám
中文(繁體): 灰沙燕
中文: 崖沙燕

The sand martin (Riparia riparia), also known as the bank swallow (in the Americas), collared sand martin, or common sand martin, is a migratory passerine bird in the swallow family. It has a wide range in summer, embracing practically the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean countries and across the Palearctic to the Pacific Ocean. It is a Holarctic species also found in North America. It winters in eastern and southern Africa, South America, and the Indian Subcontinent.


This species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae, and originally named Hirundo riparia; the description consisted of the simple "H[irundo] cinerea, gula abdomineque albis" – "an ash-grey swallow, with white throat and belly" – and the type locality was simply given as "Europa".[3] The specific name means "of the riverbank"; it is derived from the Latin ripa "riverbank".[4]

The pale martin of northern India and southeastern China is now usually split as a separate species Riparia diluta. It has paler grey-brown upperparts and a less distinct breast band. It winters in Pakistan and southern India.[5]

The sand martin is brown above, white below with a narrow brown band on the breast; the bill is black, the legs brown. The young have rufous tips to the coverts and margins to the secondaries.

Its brown back, white throat, small size and quick jerky flight separate it at once from similar swallows, such as the common house martin (Delichon urbicum), the American cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) or other species of Riparia. Only the banded martin (Neophedina cincta) of sub-Saharan Africa is similar, but the sand martin only occurs there in (the northern) winter.


Length: 4.7–5.5 in (12–14 cm)
Weight: 0.4–0.7 oz (11–20 g)
Wingspan: 9.8–13.0 in (25–33 cm)

The sand martin's twittering song is continuous when the birds are on the wing and becomes a conversational undertone after they have settled in the roost. The harsh alarm is heard when a passing falcon, crow or other suspected predator requires combined action to drive it away.

Linnaeus already remarked on this species' breeding habits: Habitat in Europae collibus arenosis abruptis, foramine serpentino—"it lives in Europe, in winding holes in sheer sandy hills". It has been observed that sand martins favour loess as a particular type of ground to nest in.[7] Sand martins are generally found near larger bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes or even the ocean, throughout the year.[3][8]

In Britain, the sand martin appears on its breeding grounds as the first of its family, starting towards the end of March, just in advance of the barn swallow. In northern Ohio, they arrive in numbers by mid-April, about 10 days earlier than they did 100 years ago.[9][10] At first, they flit over the larger bodies of water alone, in search of early flies. Later parties accompany other swallow species, but for a time, varying according to weather, the birds remain at these large waters and do not visit their nesting haunts. The sand martin departs early, at any rate from its more northerly haunts. In August, the gatherings at the nightly roost increase enormously, though the advent and departure of passage birds causes great irregularity in numbers. They are essentially gone from their breeding range by the end of September.

Their food consists of small insects, mostly gnats and other flies whose early stages are aquatic.

The sand martin is sociable in its nesting habits; from a dozen to many hundred pairs will nest close together, according to available space. The nests are at the end of tunnels ranging from a few inches to three or four feet in length, bored in sand or gravel. The actual nest is a litter of straw and feathers in a chamber at the end of the burrow; it soon becomes a hotbed of parasites. Four or five white eggs are laid about mid-late May, and a second brood is usual in all but the most northernly breeding sites.

Globally, it is not rare and classified as a species of least concern (but noted to be decreasing)[11] by the IUCN.[1] It does have some national and local protections, as certain populations have declined or face threats from habitat loss and fragmentation. In Canada, it is listed as Threatened under Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) due to the loss of 98% of its Canadian population over the past 40 years.[12] They are considered threatened in California, where populations exist in the Sacramento Valley[13] and at two coastal sites, Año Nuevo State Park and Fort Funston.[14]


BirdLife International (2019) [amended version of 2016 assessment]. "Riparia riparia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
For Cotile riparia see for instance Bonhote, J. Lewis (1907). Birds of Britain. illustrated by H. E. Dresser. London: Adam and Charles Black. pp. 113/4. OCLC 1451688.
Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Laurentius Salvius (ed.). 101.4. Hirundo riparia. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Vol. 1 (10th ed.). Holmius [Stockholm]. p. 192.
Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 336. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
Turner, Angela; Rose, Chris (1989). Swallows and martins: an identification guide and handbook. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-395-51174-9.
"Bank Swallow Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology". Retrieved 2020-09-28.
Smalley, I.J., Smalley, G.J., O'Hara-Dhand, K., Jary, Z. 2013. Sand martins favour loess: how the properties of loess ground facilitate the nesting of Sand Martins/Bank Swallows/Uferschwalben (Riparia riparia L1758) Quaternary International 296, 216-219.
Accordi & Barcellos (2006)
Henninger, W.F. (1906). "A Preliminary List of the Birds of Seneca County, Ohio". The Wilson Bulletin. 18.
OOS (2004)
International), BirdLife International (BirdLife (2016-10-01). "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Riparia riparia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2021-06-25.
"Species Profile (Bank Swallow) - Species at Risk Public Registry". Retrieved 2021-06-25.
Garrison, B.A. (1998). "Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)". The Riparian Bird Conservation Plan: A Strategy for Reversing the Decline of Riparian-associated Birds in California.

Fish, Allen (April 2012). "Bank Swallows of Fort Funston". Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Retrieved 26 October 2014.

Further reading
Heneberg, P. (2003). "Soil particle composition affects the physical characteristics of Sand Martin Riparia riparia holes". Ibis. 145 (3): 392–399. doi:10.1046/j.1474-919X.2003.00176.x.
Heneberg, P. (2001). "Size of sand grains as a significant factor affecting the nesting of bank swallows (Riparia riparia). Soil particle composition affects the physical characteristics of Sand Martin Riparia riparia holes". Biologia. 56 (2): 205–210. Archived from the original on 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2005-12-29.
Heneberg, Petr; Šírek, Jiří; Škorpíková, Vlasta; Šimeček, Karel; Šafránek, Jiří; Mazánek, Daniel; Hubálek, Zdeněk; Jeřábková, Eva (2006). "Overview of sand martin (Riparia riparia) localities in the Czech Republic". Linzer Biologische Beiträge. 38 (2): 1413–1447.

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