Fun Fairy Martin Facts For Kids

Nidhi Sahai
Feb 20, 2024 By Nidhi Sahai
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Interesting Fairy Martin facts about one of the cutest birds.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

Belonging to the Hirundinidae family, Chordata phylum, and Passeriformes order, the Fairy Martin (Petrochelidon ariel) has a dark blue back and upper wings. Their wings are broad because of which they fly high and has pointed tips that can extend past their tail when perched, but the wings are smaller than most swallows. The Fairy Martin (Petrochelidon ariel) has a slightly forked tail and has pale rufous extending from the forehead across the crown to the nape. They have bottle-shaped mud nests in old dead trees, nest sites in open country near water, cliffs, culverts, or bridges. The Hirundo ariel makes its nest where they get easy availability of food and water near its nest sites and is usually constructed with dry grasses and feathers surrounding the nest. Their calls show great similarities to the tree martin call but hunt their food high in the air.

Got an interest in birds and want to know about more of them? Here you can know some amazing facts about the Bee-eater and Cockatoo!

Fairy Martin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Fairy Martin?

The Bottle Swallow is a migratory bird and often migrates to New Zealand and New Guinea as the Fairy Martin breeding season is often in the country of Australia between August to January. They migrate to the north in fall with Welcome Swallows and tree martins. They don't have any subspecies. Fairy Martins are, on average smaller than the other birds of the same family like Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

What class of animal does a Fairy Martin belong to?

Fairy Martins belong to the class Aves of the kingdom Animalia. Their scientific name is Petrochelidon ariel. They are also known as Hirundo Ariel.

How many Fairy Martin's are there in the world?

The exact number of Fairy Martins is not known, but they are in the Least Concern (LC) area of the IUCN's list.

Where does a Fairy Martin live?

They prefer living in the regions of the open country near water or places around mud and trees to build their nest easily.  Their breeding country is Australia, and then they migrate to New Guinea and Indonesia. Their population is now increasing in New Zealand.

What is a Fairy Martin's habitat?

The Fairy Martin's natural habitat is mostly the places where they get raw and dry materials with the ready availability of food to eat near its nest sites. They have bottle-shaped mud nests protected by dry grasses and feathers. Areas of the old construction site, sites in cliffs culverts, on top of buildings, nests in dead trees, old pipes, small riverbanks, sedimented cliffs, grasslands, forests, and culverts also make up their habitat.

Who do Fairy Martins live with?

The Bottle Swallow is an extremely gregarious species. They live in large colonies with 9-10 nests. Their co-companions are mostly another bird of the same family, which is tree martins.

How long does a Fairy Martin live?

This bottle swallow does not have a good life expectancy. They are short-lived, with one breeding season. They can live up to two years.

How do they reproduce?

Their breeding months are from August to January, which they spend in Australia. Both male and female birds give incubation to the eggs and use a lot of mud pellets for the construction of their nest sites in cliffs.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), this square-tailed bird  (fairly martin, Petrochelidon ariel) is under the status of Least Concern (LC) and can be found in abundance in the countries of Australia and New Zealand.

Fairy Martin Fun Facts

What do Fairy Martins look like?

The colorful body that a Fairy Martin (Petrochelidon ariel) has gives it a very appealing look. With black-brown wings and white underparts, it shows resemblance with another species of the same family, the tree martins. They have a square tail and are dumpy, with a major part of their wings being black and a smaller part is blue, which gave it a vibrant plumage and has a forked tail.

Fairy Martin collects small sticks and mud for its nest

How cute are they?

Fairy Martins (Petrochelidon ariel) or Hirundo ariel are smaller than most of the swallows. They are very colorful, and because of their slightly forked tail and feathery appearance, they can be called cute birds.

How do they communicate?

Like most swallows, the Fairy Martin communicates by making various sounds or calls, which can often be considered soft bird music. They use different types of sounds with variable frequencies to inform their groupmates on sensing danger.

How big is a Fairy Martin?

The Fairy Martin is one of the smallest species of the family Hirundinidae. They are 4.7 in ( 12 cm) long and are almost half the size of the largest swallow, which is the Mosque Swallow.

How fast can a Fairy Martin fly?

They have a slow fluttering flight, but the development of wings is very good from the start, unlike the Welcome Swallow. They can fly up to 16 mph (25.7 kph).

How much does a Fairy Martin weigh?

Being one of the smallest swallows of the genus Petrochelidon, the Fairy Martin (Petrochelidon ariel) weighs around 0.4 oz  (11 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to the male and female of the species.

What would you call a baby Fairy Martin?

The baby of this bird is called a chick, like the other species of the Petrochelidon genus.

What do they eat?

They feed higher in the air as compared to other swallows, and their diet is mostly insects and mosquitos. Various moths, dragonflies, mayflies, and caddisflies are its food.

Are they dangerous?

They are not dangerous and rather have a sweet appeal. They are small birds and sometimes face danger from the external environment in terms of human intervention and climate changes.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they do not make a good pet as they need a large space to fly and collect food for the young ones. Also, like the Tree Martin, they get scared of the presence of people.

Did you know...

Swallows like the Fairy Martin and Tree Martin are those kinds of birds that cannot be baited easily. Once they make their nests at your house or property, the job of Fairy Martin nest removal can become hectic. If they live nearby, they can act as a pest.

Different types of Martin

The Martin belongs to the family Hirundinidae. There are different kinds and can be found in various parts of the globe, the famous Purple Martin (Progne Subis) in America. In Africa, there is the African river martin (Pseudochelidon eurystomina), which has a population around the river Congo. The house martin (Delichon urbica), commonly seen in Europe, resembles the most to the Fairy Martin as its blue-black body and whitish rump is the same as that of Fairy Martins (Petrochelidon ariel) and also fly high in the air. The sand martin or bank swallow (Riparia riparia) can be found in Northern Hemisphere and unlike Fairy Martins, they build their nest burrows in sandbanks.

Fairy Martin vs Welcome Swallow

The Fairy Martin and Welcome Swallow look very similar to a great extent, but the Welcome Swallow is more colorful than the Fairy Martin. The area around the head of Fairy Martin is all brown, but that of a Welcome Swallow is dark blue-black on the crown and nape. The genus of the Fairy Martin is Petrochelidon and that of the Welcome Swallow is Hirundo; both belong to the same family. The Welcome Swallow feeds lower as compared to the Fairy Martin. The Welcome Swallow shows a faster fluttering speed and has a less shrilling voice. The height and weight of Welcome Swallows are more than that of the Fairy Martin, with a slight variation.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Great Green Macaw facts or the Secretary Bird facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable fairy martin coloring pages.

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Written by Nidhi Sahai

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Nidhi Sahai picture

Nidhi SahaiBachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Dedicated and experienced, Nidhi is a professional content writer with a strong reputation for delivering high-quality work. She has contributed her expertise to esteemed organizations, including Network 18 Media and Investment Ltd. Driven by her insatiable curiosity and love for journalism and mass communication, Nidhi pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, graduating with distinction in 2021. During her college years, she discovered her passion for Video Journalism, showcasing her skills as a videographer for her institution. Nidhi's commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond her professional pursuits. Actively engaging in volunteer work, she has contributed to various events and initiatives throughout her academic career.

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