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Purple Martin Bird Houses

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Purple Martins

Identification: 8" Male: All dark purple with black wings and tail. Purple areas are shiny. Female: Grey chest; whitish belly; dull purple back; black wings and tail. Imm. Female is like adult female. Male, in first fall, is also like adult female. The next spring and summer, he resembles adult female, buthas more shiny purple on back and is slightly darker on the belly. Imm. plumage kept 1 year.


Feeding: Feeds on the wing, eating insects.


Voice: Song is pairs of notes followed by guttural warble, given during pair interactions. "Cher cher" call given near nest.


Habitat: Open areas, often near water.


Nesting: Colonial nester in East, primarily in man-made birdhouses consisting of many compartments. In West, tends to nest singly, in natural cavities in trees and in holesin saguaro cactus. Nest composed of mud, sticks, twigs, feathers, bark, paper; fresh green leaves added during incubation. Eggs: 5-6, white; I: 15-16 days; F: 27-35 days, altricial; B: 1.


Native Americans were the first to put out hollow gourds for breeding martins. Now, thousands of people put out martin  nest box. After nesting, young and adults gather in premigratory roosts of many thousands.

Vador Outdoors, Inc.
1830 N. Lapeer Rd.
Lapeer, Michigan 48446
810-248-4070/Fax: 810-245-4120