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Books about Swallows and Martins

The books are listed in order of publication date with the most recent at the top.


Swallows and Martins

Family: Hirundinidae

In the UK

Swallow (Barn Swallow)
Hirundo rustica

House Martin
Delichon urbica

Sand Martin
Riparia riparia

Rare visitors to UK

Tree Swallow
Tachycineta bicolor

Purple Martin
Progne subis

Crag Martin
Ptyonoprogne rupestris

Red-rumped Swallow
Cecropis daurica

Cliff Swallow
Petrochelidon pyrrhonota

Worldwide

There over 80 species of swallows and martins worldwide.

 

Guests of Summer: A House Martin Love Story

Theunis Piersma

Foreword: Ian Newton

Cover art: Carry Akroyd

British Trust for Ornithology

2016

"Guests of Summer tells the story of the House Martins of a small Dutch village, and the historic and contemporary connectedness of lives, both of birds and people. The journey begins from the comfort of a chair in Piersma's garden. Intrigued by the martins nesting on his house and the other swallow-like birds in the village, he begins to explore what it is like to be a House Martin. In doing this, Piersma weaves a tapestry that connects Anglo-Saxon migrations, Shakespeare's writings, political upheaval in the Congo, climate change and the big and frightening downsides of ongoing agricultural intensification. He does this using our aerial insectivores, the martins, swallows and swifts, as the most inspiring of canaries in the global coal mine."

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Swallow

Angela Turner

Animal series

Reaktion Books

2015

208 pages, 66 colour illustrations, 34 other illustrations

"Known as heralds of spring and beautiful, elegant flyers, swallows are among the most beloved of familiar birds. Because they return with the spring, swallows have long been associated with the renewal of life, love, fidelity and fertility, while their ability to travel incredible distances has given them associations with freedom and speed. That freedom, however, hasnít kept them from becoming familiar figures in villages and towns. Unlike many animals, these birds have benefited from their close relationship with humans. They often appear to seek out our company; barn swallows have taken advantage of our buildings to make new nesting sites and purple martins use backyard nest boxes. However, as we encroach on their natural habitat, some swallow populations have dwindled to the point of extinction. Bringing together an intriguing mixture of biology, mythology and legend, Swallow is a cultural and natural history that will delight the many fans of these popular birds."

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A Single Swallow: Following the Migration from South Africa to South Wales

Horatio Clare

Chatto & Windus / Vintage

2009

"A journey of 6,000 miles across two continents and fourteen countries is nothing to swallows: they do it twice a year. But for a writer and birdwatcher, this is the expedition of a lifetime. By trains, cars, buses, motorbikes, trucks, canoes, planes, one camel and three ships, Horatio Clare followed migrating swallows (Hirundo rustica) from reed beds outside Bloemfontein, where millions roost in February, to a barn in Wales, where a pair nest in May. From the slums of Cape Town to the palaces of Algiers, through Pygmy villages where pineapples grow wild, to the Gulf of Guinea where the sea blazes with oil flares, "A Single Swallow" is a journey through the modern world to the tune of an ancient rhythm. It is a story of old empires and modern tribes, of the horrors of power and the wonders of kindness. It includes a witch-doctor's recipe for stewed swallow, explains how to travel without money or a passport, describes a terrifying incident involving three Spanish soldiers and a tiny orange dog, betrays several swallow secrets and proves that Wales exists only because of Ryan Giggs. It also tests the wisdom of an ancient piece of hearsay: the Zulus say that those who follow the swallows never come back ...Magical, inspiring, beautifully written with passion and purpose, "A Single Swallow" is a thrilling book about the intersection of the natural and the human worlds, sending shivers down the spine and lifting the heart."

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Sand Martins

Ann Lolley

Salty Press / Broughty Ferry Environmental Project

2007

A 32 page booklet about the ecology, biology and migration of the Sand Martin.

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The Barn Swallow

Angela Turner

Poyser

2006

"This book examines all aspects of the life of this endearing bird, with chapters on its flying skills and feeding habits, mate choice, breeding strategies, nest sites, eggs and incubation, nestling rearing, productivity and survival, migratory behaviour and population dynamics. It also considers changes in populations and behaviour in relation to intensive agriculture and climate change. "The Barn Swallow" is both engaging and authoritative; birdwatchers will enjoy amazing insights into the life of the species, such as the importance of tail feathers when finding a mate, or the sinister way that some birds kill of the chicks of rivals. Academic scholars will appreciate the book's broad overview of current research on this species."

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European Swallows Hirundo rustica And Other Songbirds Of Wetlands In Ghana, December 1997

S.B. Deuzeman, T.M. van der Have, W.T. de Nobel & B. van den Brink

WIWO Report Series 80

Foundation Working Group International Wader and Waterfowl Research

2004

"With the establishment of long-term breeding bird monitoring schemes in several European countries, it became clear that breeding bird populations are hardly ever stable and may species wintering in Africa, including European Swallows, are declining. Apart from may short-term changes largely caused by variation in the weather, long-term changes are related to changes in land use and intensification of agricultural practices in Europe, and global climate change. Population trends in several species are linked to changes in rainfall patterns in the non-breeding areas in Africa. These relations have been mainly established on correlations between rainfall patterns and population trends, and field data are lacking in many species. This motivated to study European Swallows in Ghana. The field work concentrated on the following topics: searching for concentrations of foraging or roosting Swallows; and catching of Swallows and other wetland-related songbirds with mistnets to collect data on age, biometrics and moult."

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Swallow

Stephen Savage

Hodder Wayland

2003

"Follow the swallow's life cycle, from the hatching of a chick to finding a mate. Look inside to discover the exciting world of the swallow, from a European barn to the South African savannah - explore some of the different habitats that are the swallow's home. Find out about the threats facing swallows and what can be done to protect them. Each book in the "Animal Neighbours" series covers such topics as the life cycle of the featured animal, its habitat, food chains, and threats, and also gives clues on how to find the animal in the children's local environment."

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The Purple Martin

Robin R. Doughty and Rob Fergus

Corrie Herring Hooks Series

University of Texas Press

2002

"One of the surest harbingers of spring is the return of Purple Martins to the houses that people put up across the United States to attract these companionable birds. The bustle of courting, rearing nestlings, and fledging young martins fills the summer months, until approaching autumn lures the martins to their winter range in South America. Then human landlords refurbish their martin houses and wait for another round of this much-anticipated yearly cycle. Robin Doughty and Rob Fergus here present a concise natural history of the bird and its centuries-long companionship with people. They discuss the martin's scientific classification and names, its migration and range, and its family life. They relate stories of how Native Americans and European colonists attracted Purple Martins and how Americans throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries helped martins survive the loss of natural nesting sites by providing houses for them. The authors also describe how whole communities have become centres for martin promotion and detail the many organisations and resources in print and on the Internet through which martin fans can communicate with each other and learn more about attracting and housing the birds."

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The Journey of a Swallow

Carolyn Scrace

Franklin Watts

2000

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Swallow Summer

Charles R. Brown

Nebraska University Press

1998

"Each May for fifteen consecutive years, Charles R. Brown has trekked to the Cedar Point Biological Station in western Nebraska to learn more about the behavior of colonial cliff swallows. He, his wife, and several student assistants spend the summers observing, catching, and banding swallows to determine life span, migration patterns, and nesting habits. Why study one species of swallow for fifteen years? With Swallow Summer Brown answers all the tourists, highway patrolmen, and local residents who have asked why he was leaning over bridges with nets, wading in mud up to his knees, or staring fixedly into culverts, where swallows often build their mud nests. He finds these birds fascinating. This book is about a passion for birds, but it is also about the personal challenges of scientific research. Brown provides a daily chronicle of field work at Cedar Point-including the joy of holding a swallow that has returned to the same site for eleven years and the inevitable frictions between researchers and local residents."

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European Songbirds And Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica In Ghana: A Quest For Constant Effort Sites And Swallow Roosts In December/January 1996/97

B. Van den Brink, R.G. Bijlsma & T.M. van der Have

WIWO Report Series 58

Foundation Working Group International Wader and Waterfowl Research

1998

"The main aim of this project was to develop operational Constant Effort Sites in wetland habitats in Ghana where moult, condition and survival of European wetland birds could be monitored, thus obtaining information about the condition of European passerines and Swallows wintering in Ghanaian wetlands."

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European Swallows Hirundo rustica in Botswana

B. Van den Brink, R.G. Bijlsma & T.M. van der Have

WIWO Report Series 56

Foundation Working Group International Wader and Waterfowl Research

1997

"The objectives of the Botswana Swallow Project 1993-95 were: to collect information about the origin of European Swallows 'wintering' in Botswana, especially those from The Netherlands and other parts of Western Europe (where the species is in serious decline); to assess the importance of Botswana as 'wintering' ground for European Swallows; to study environmental factors that influence moult and body condition of European Swallows 'wintering' in Botswana; to obtain information about site fidelity of Swallows to 'wintering' areas; to study differences in the timing of moult of adult and juvenile European Swallows; to count the number of waterbirds in wetlands used by European Swallows as roosting and foraging sites; to investigate possible threats to European Swallow roost sites."

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The Stokes Purple Martin Book

Donald & Lillian Stokes

Little Brown & Co

1997

"Did you know that Purple Martins are almost completely dependent on humans for their housing? Maintaining colonies of these beloved backyard birds-a tradition that began with the Native American tribes of the Southeast-is today more popular than ever. In the Stokes Purple Martin Book you ll find all the information you need to attract house and care for a colony of Purple Martins in your own yard."

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Coloniality in the Cliff Swallow: The Effect of Group Size on Social Behaviour

Charles R. Brown and Mary Bomberger Brown

University of Chicago Press

1996

"Many animal species live and breed in colonies. Although biologists have documented numerous costs (increased competition for limited resources) and benefits (more pairs of eyes to watch for predators) of group living, they often still do not agree on why coloniality evolved in the first place. Drawing on their 12-year study of a population of cliff swallows in Nebraska, USA, the authors investigate 26 social and ecological costs and benefits of coloniality. They explore how these costs and benefits are reflected in reproductive success and survivorship, and speculate on the evolution of cliff swallow coloniality."

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Sexual Selection and the Barn Swallow

Anders Pape Moller

Oxford Series in Ecology & Evolution

Oxford University Press

1994

"An important empirical test of the theoretical predictions of sexual selection theory, this book presents a long-term field study of the monagamous barn swallow. By using information on behaviour, ecology, morphology, genetics, and evolution, the book reviews this theory and its two components: male-male competition and female choice. The selective advantages of a long tail are investigated for this common bird, demonstrating such effects as mating behaviour, copulation behaviour, migration strategies, and host-parasite interactions. A rich informative text which clearly elucidates the mechanisms and consequences of sexual selection."

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The Swallow

Angela Turner

Illustrations: Hilary Burn and Norman Arlott

Hamlyn Species Guides

Hamlyn

1994

A study of the distribution, lifestyle and behaviour of the Swallow. Includes photographs and line drawings to aid identification.

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The House Martin

David Bryant

Hamlyn Species Guides

Hamlyn

1994

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A Handbook to the Swallows and Martins of the World

Angela Turner

Illustrations: Chris Rose

Helm

1989

"This reference guide gives general details about the swallows and martins of the world. These include appearance, the basic coloration and differences between the sexes and immatures and the function of other areas of colouring. Several species within the same geographical area are often segregated by feeding in different habitats or at different heights or by eating different size-classes of insects. The two sub-families, one being the two river martins, the other containing about 72 species mainly in the genus hirundo, are dealt with, including their distribution and migration patterns. Feeding, courtship and breeding habits are considered, together with details of nesting sites, clutch size, incubation and life-span. Finally, the population sizes of the various species are examined, noting that whilst many have expanded their range by using man-made structures, forest species probably remain small and one species, the Red Sea swallow is known from only one specimen."

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Swallows & Martins: An Identification Guide and Handbook

Angela Turner

Illustrations: Chris Rose

Houghton Mifflin

1988

"This book comprises chapters on the family's characteristics, classification, distribution, ecology, behaviour, breeding biology and population status, as well as a short account of each species. Each species account describes the field characteristics, habitat, distribution, movements, behaviour, breeding biology, voice, plumage, races and measurements of the 74 species that are included. Includes fine plates are by Chris Rose and two-colour distribution and breeding map."

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The Swallow

Peter Tate

Shire Natural History

1986

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Swallows

Peter Tate

Colour plates, line drawings: Alan Harris

H.F. & G. Witherby

1982

"The swallow's life-cycle, its arrival, breeding and departure, its long and dangerous journey to far away winter quarters are all described in Peter Tate's book on his favourite bird."

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Children of the Wind: A Study of Swallows

Raymond Howe

Illustrations: Matthew Hillier

Moonraker Press

1980

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The Migration of the Swallow

Collingwood Ingram

H F & G Witherby

1974

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The Purple Martin

R.B. Layton

Nature Books Pub

1969

Reprinted at least 5 times.

"A complete and authentic guide to one of America's favourite birds. Well illustrated with photographs and drawings."

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What You Should Know About the Purple Martin

J.L. Wade

Privately published

1966

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The Rough winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis (Viellot): A Study Based on Its Breeding Biology in Michigan

William A.Lunk

Nuttall Ornithological Club publication 4

1962

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The Swallow

Eric Hosking and Cyril Newberry

Collins

1946

Covers the life and breeding habits of the swallow. Illustrated with photographs, by Hosking, maps and a colour frontispiece.

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Swallows

Thomas Southwell

Editor: H. E. Dresser

Educational Series No. 4

Society for the Protection of Birds

1890's

A 7 page guide that covers Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin. Provides a brief description and information on distribution, numbers, food, characteristics, protection, plus five pages of general remarks.

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A Monograph Of The Hirundinidae: Or Family Of Swallows

R. Bowdler Sharpe and Claude W. Wyatt

Printed for the authors by Taylor & Francis

1894

Printed in 20 parts between 1885 and 1894. Then published in two volumes.

From the introduction:

"The Swallows appear to us to be such a well-marked and isolated Family of Passeres, that, in the absence of any detailed account of their anatomy and general structure, which, so far as we know, has not been attempted, there remains little for us to say. By Linnaeus and the earlier writers the Swallows were united with the Swifts and all were placed in the genus Hirundo. Then in course of time they were recognized as a separate Family, but they were not allowed to escape from their ancient entanglement, and, side by side with the Swifts, they flourished as members of the wide-gaping birds, or 'Fissirostres.' When the 'rostral' system became somewhat exploded, they were ruthlessly separated from their former companions, until now, in due course of re-action, they seem to be recognized as Passerine Birds of a somewhat Cypseline tendency, or perhaps, one might more truly say, the Swifts are Cypseline Birds with a Hirundinine tendency. For the nine years in which this book has been in publication, we entertained the hope that some competent Anatomist would enact such a comparison of the characters of the two Families that we should have been able to summarize the results, and tell our readers exactly how the Swallows may be differentiated from the Swifts in every point of structure. In default of this much-needed exhaustive essay from our more expert brethren, we venture to define the characters of the Hirundinidae as follows: - A. Passerine Birds with nine primary quills. B. Spinal feather-tract bifurcated. C. A single moult in the year, executed, so far as we know from the migralury species, during their residence in the winter home. No Passerine Birds, we believe, present this triple combination of characters, but further information is, of course, desirable."
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Catalogue Of The Passeriformes or Perching Birds In The Collection Of The British Museum

Fringilliformes: Part I, containing the families Dicaeidae, Hirundinidae, Ampelidae, Mniotiltidae and Motacillidae

Catalogue Of The Birds In The British Museum, Volume X

R. Bowdler Sharpe

12 colour plates: J.G. Keulemans

Printed By Order Of The Trustees

Printed by Taylor & Francis

1885

From the introduction:

"In the present volume 448 species are described, represented by 4590 specimens. Of these the Museum contains the types of 88, and 52 species are still desiderata to the collection. The series of Neotropical birds has been rendered wonderfully complete by the addition of the collections of Dr. Sclater and of Messrs. Salvin and Godman; whilst through the hearty co-operation of Professor Baird, on behalf of the United-States National Museum, numerous valuable North- American birds have been received during the past year. The collection of the Old-World species of the families described in the present volume is also tolerably perfect; and many of the migratory species are represented by series of specimens illustrating their geographical distribution in a full and satisfactory manner. Much remains to be done to complete our knowledge of the changes of plumage of the Wagtails and Pipits. In my study of the latter birds I have not relied solely on the series in the British Museum, but I have likewise examined the collections of Canon Tristram, Capt. Wardlaw-Eamsay, Capt. Shelley, Mr. Seebohm, and Mr. F. Nicholson, to each of whom I return my thanks."
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Last updated August 2013