Nature Journal
with Photos

Purple Martin Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Tiny bill
- Largest swallow
- Most often seen flying
- Will nest communally at martin houses in residential
  and agricultural areas

Adult male
- Dark purple plumage, usually appears black
- Forked tail
- Immature males similar to female but may be
  splotched with dark purple

Adult female
- Dark gray upperparts with some purple coloration
- Whitish underparts with gray breast band and throat
  with some speckling on sides and belly
- Forked tail
- Immature plumages similar to female

Similar species
The male Purple Martin is easily told from other swallows by its entirely dark plumage. It is vaguely similar to the starling but has a smaller bill, longer wings and a darker plumage.

Female Purple Martins are similar to Bank and Northern Rough-winged Swallows but are larger, and flap more slowly. At close range, the darker upperparts of the martin are evident.

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