Sand Martin - Riparia riparia


    Sand Martins are the smallest European Hirundines (martins and swallows), with dark brown upper parts and dark under wings contrasting with otherwise pale under parts divided by a distinctive dark chest bar.

    Identification difficulty

    Found along rivers and other water bodies throughout the UK. They breed in colonies in vertical earth or sand banks along rivers and old gravel workings and were gravel extraction is taking place. They will also use artificial nesting banks.

    When to see it

    March to October.

    Life History

    Insect feeders and agile fliers, feeding mainly over water, they will perch on overhead wires or branches. They are gregarious in the breeding season and during the autumn months prior to migration.

    UK Status

    Widespread and fairly common throughout the UK.

    VC55 Status

    Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map