Saturday, 12 August 2017

House martins landing in a bush to feed on insects

One of the more remarkable sights from our holiday to Cyprus in August 2017 was to see over 200 hirundines, almost all house martins but also the occasional swallow, perching on wires in Nata village before dropping down into a bush to pick insects off the branches and leaves. I'm not sure what the insects were, they were too small to be seen through my binoculars, so I guess aphid types.

Out of interest, the "Handbook to the swallows and martins of the world" (Turner/ Rose), Poyser 1989 states that "Exceptionally, they [house martins] will perch on trees and walls to pick up insects". It certainly must be an exceptional occurance, in 40 years birding I've never seen anything like this before!

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