IT IS NOT UNTIL YOU GET CLOSE, YOU GET A CHANCE TO ADMIRE THE SHIMMERING PURPLE-BLUE IRIDESCENCE OF THIS ONCE PLENTIFUL BIRD.
It’s not until you get close that you see this bird shine with his shimmering purplish-blue iridescence.
MEET THE PURPLE MARTIN
The purple martin (Progne subis) is North America’s largest swallow, measuring 20 cm in length. Adult males are a glossy iridescent dark purple sheen caused by the refraction of incident light giving them a bright blue to navy blue or deep purple appearance. In some light, they may even appear green in color. They also have a long forked tail.
Adult females are dark on top with some purple on the back and lighter underparts.
Juveniles are greyish-brown above and whitish below, gaining some purple feathers by their first winter.
These birds are typically found across eastern North America, and also in some locations on the west coast from British Columbia to Mexico. The Purple Martin migrates to the Amazon basin in winter.
Purple martin like to live in or around towns, farms, and semi-open country near water, also mountain forests, saguaro desert.
These birds forage by hunting flying insects, including many wasps, winged ants, and bees; also many true bugs, flies, beetles, moths, and butterflies. Dragonflies may also be important in their diet. They will also eat some spiders.
The breeding grounds of the Purple Sailors are in caves, mostly in the hollows of old trees, and trees (or in large cacti in the southwest). In the East, many swallows now use nest boxes. Sometimes, they nest in attics or eaves. The nest, built by both sexes, is made of paper cups, grass, twigs, debris, usually mud. 3-8 white eggs are laid inside and the female lays it for 15-18 days. Both parents bring food to the chicks, which leave the nest after about 26 to 31 days.
Purple martins suffered a severe population crash in the 20th century widely linked to the release and spread of European starlings in North America. Though they are still regarded as of least concern on the IUCN Red List.