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


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

UK Map