10 November 2016

Asian and Northern House Martins - Tai Sang Wai


Northern House Martin - Delichon urbicum
Tai Sang Wai, Hong Kong



A cold front, some unseasonal rain, and hirundines were low over the commercial fishponds at Tai Sang Wai today.

There were about two dozen House Martins whirling around, and we noticed that some (well, 2 or 3) were displaying bigger white rumps than most of the others.


Tai Sang Wai, Hong Kong

So we had a chance to compare and contrast Asian House Martins - a regular passage and winter bird - and Northern House Martins - still fewer than ten records.  (Actually HK's sixth record involved 17 Northern House Martins on 31st Dec 2015, so most of our keenest twitchers would have nailed those.)

(And a seventh occurrence in mid-January this escaped my attention earlier....)

Asian House Martin - Delichon dasypus


Northern House Martin - Delichon urbicum
Asian House Martin - Delichon dasypus
Northern House Martin - Delichon urbicum

But still, there they were, whizzing about in the cold pouring rain, the fishpond insects obviously driven very low.

Asian House Martin - Delichon dasypus
Northern House Martin - Delichon urbicum


A few other "fishpond habitat" birds were about, too.
Richard's Pipit - Anthus richardi
Common Starlings - Sturnus vulgaris

Eastern Buzzard - Buteo japonicus


Elsewhere there were Richard’s Pipits and three Common Starlings.  The Starling is a scarce winter visitor here.  

An Eastern Buzzard lurked in the pond side grass nearby.

6 comments:

  1. It's always fun to have vagrant species but especially when you can compare the differences in morphology with similar resident species. I am sure this was all very enjoyable.

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  2. I saw House Martins in South Africa. Do you know which form they would be? My field guide just mentions the generic name, House Martin.
    There are plenty of starlings in my neighborhood but they never pose for close=up photos like you got.

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    Replies
    1. Hi John, it should be the nominate race of Eurasian House Martin in South Africa.

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  3. I would never be able to distinguish the 2 House Martins..........

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    Replies
    1. I'm still not completely confident with House Martins either - but at least a few close-ish digital photos help...!

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