From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Riparia Riparia-2006-Ejdzej-1.jpg
Sand martin (Riparia riparia)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Hirundinidae
Subfamily: Hirundininae
Genus: Riparia
T. Forster, 1817

R. paludicola
R. chinensis
R. congica
R. riparia
R. diluta
R. cincta

Riparia is a small genus of passerine birds in the swallow family. The genus means "of the riverbank"; it is derived from the Latin ripa "riverbank".[1]

These are small or medium-sized swallows, ranging from 11–17 cm in length. They are brown above and mainly white below, and all have a dark breast band.

These species are closely associated with water. They nest in tunnels usually excavated by the birds themselves in a natural sand bank or earth mound. They lay white eggs, which are incubated by both parents, in a nest of straw, grass, and feathers in a chamber at the end of the burrow. Some species breed colonially.

The cosmopolitan sand martin is almost completely migratory, breeding across temperate Eurasia and North America and wintering in the tropics. The other species are partial migrants or resident.

Riparia martins, like other swallows, take insects in flight over water, grassland, or other open country.


Extant Species[edit]

There are six species. In taxonomic order, they are:

Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
Plain Martin - Natal - South Africa S4E6445 (16978324252).jpg R. paludicola (Vieillot, 1817) brown-throated martin Africa
Grey-throated Martin and Streak-throated Swallow (30406451875).jpg R. chinensis (J.E. Gray, 1830) grey-throated martin Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Indian subcontinent to southern China, Taiwan, and the northern Philippines
R. congica (Reichenow, 1887) Congo martin Congo River and its tributary, the Ubangi.
Bank Swallow - Texas H8O5372 (16953712276).jpg R. riparia (Linnaeus, 1758) sand martin or bank swallow southern Africa, South America and the Indian Subcontinent.
Riparia diluta.JPG R. diluta (Sharpe & Wyatt, 1893) pale martin or pale sand martin central Asia to southeastern China
Banded Martin - Natal - South Africa S4E6413 (16792206620).jpg R. cincta (Boddaert, 1783 banded martin Africa from Cameroon and Zaire to Ethiopia south to the Cape in South Africa

Fossil record[edit]


  1. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 336. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  2. ^ Kessler, E. (2013). Neogene songbirds (Aves, Passeriformes) from Hungary. Hantkeniana. Budapest, 8:37-149.