Overview

Distribution

Caribbean martins are found in Mexico, the West Indies, and Cuba. There is also some speculation that they spend their winters in South America.

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

  • Flieg, M., A. Sander. 2000. Birds of the West Indes. UK: New Holland Publishers.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

West Indies (except Cuba and Isle of Pines); Tobago.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Both male and female Caribbean martins have a distinct dark blue (almost purple) color on the upper/back parts of their body and a white belly. The trait that distinguishes males from females is the abrupt change in color. Males have a distinct line that separates the blue from the white, while females have brown feathers that gradually blend into the white. These brown feathers are also apparent in juvenile martins (Raffaele et al., 1998). Caribbean martins have small black beaks and long pointed wings (Downer, 1990). Progne dominicensis grow to be about 17 to 20 cm long.

Range length: 17 to 20 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes colored or patterned differently

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

  • Downer, A. 1990. Birds of Jamaica : a photographic field guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

These birds live near bodies of water or along shorelines, in urban areas, open land and near cliffs. The presence of water is crucial as it ensures the existence of insects, their primary food source.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

Aquatic Biomes: coastal

Other Habitat Features: urban ; suburban ; riparian

  • Nature Serve, 2003. "Nature Serve" (On-line). Accessed February 11, 2004 at http://www.natureserve.org/infonatura/.
  • Raffaele, H., J. Wiley, O. Garrido, A. Keith, J. Raffaele. 1998. Birds of the West Indes. London, England: Christopher Helm Ltd.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

These birds forage for flying insects while in flight. Caribbean martins will also follow cattle to catch the insects that the cows flush.  Caribbean martins eat: flies (order Diptera), dragonflies (order Odonata), butterflies (order Lepidoptera), flying ants (order Hymenoptera), June bugs and many additional species.

Animal Foods: insects

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

It is said that if birds and other insectivores were non-existent, the world would be covered with insects! Caribbean martins help to regulate insect populations on the islands.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

The introduction of mammalian predators is a serious threat to the avifauna of the West Indies. Caribbean martins, who nest near the ground, are very susceptible to nest predation. The mongoose (Family Herpestidae) has been the most detrimental predator to the birds of Jamaica. Rats (Rattus norvegicus) and pigs (Family Suidae) are among other known predators.

Known Predators:

  • mongooses (Herpestidae)
  • brown rats (Rattus norvegicus)
  • pigs (Suidae)

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Known prey organisms

Progne dominicensis preys on:
Insecta

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Known predators

Progne dominicensis is prey of:
Herpestidae
Suidae
Rattus norvegicus

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Calling is the primary way members of this species communicate with one another. Caribbean martin calls are described as a "gurgling," a "liquid ‘chileet, chur-chur, chi-chi-chiwee’," or a "high twick-twick" sound.

Communication Channels: acoustic

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Cycle

No information has been reported about the development/life cycles of the Caribbean Martins.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Expectancy

No information has been reported about the lifespan of Progne dominicensis.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

We do not have information on mating systems for this species, however, most species in the Hirundinidae family are monogamous.

Caribbean martins build nests out of plant material such as tree twigs and leaves. Nests are found in cliff crevices, old woodpecker holes, palms and even telephone poles. Breeding usually occurs between February and August in the West Indies. Male and female Progne dominicensis, like most birds, copulate by bringing the male and female cloacal surfaces into contact. The male passes the sperm into the female while standing on top of her (Hickman et al., 2000). Females produce 2 to 6 white eggs (Raffaele et al., 1998). Incubation lasts 14 days, on average.

Breeding season: February through August

Range eggs per season: 2 to 6.

Average time to hatching: 14 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; oviparous

The young are altricial; they hatch without feathers and are extremely helpless and dependent at birth. They remain in the nest for at least a week. The offspring must be fed constantly.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; altricial ; pre-fertilization; pre-hatching/birth (Protecting); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning)

  • Hickman, C., L. Roberts, A. Larson. 2000. Animal Diversity. USA: McGraw-Hill.
  • Raffaele, H., J. Wiley, O. Garrido, A. Keith, J. Raffaele. 1998. Birds of the West Indes. London, England: Christopher Helm Ltd.
  • Sibley, D. 2001. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5