Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Large Rock Martin (Ptyonoprogne fuligula)


French: Hirondelle isabelline German: Steinschwalbe Spanish: Avión isabel meridional
Other common names: Rock Martin (when lumped with P. obsoleta and P. rufigula)

Hirundo fuligula

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1842,

Baviaan River, Cape Province, South Africa


See P. rupestris (above). Commonly considered conspecific with P. obsoleta and hitherto always with P. rufigula (see both, above). Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. f. anderssoni (Sharpe & Wyatt, 1887) – NW & SW Angola and N & C Namibia.
  • P. f. fuligula (M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1842) – S Namibia, Botswana and W South Africa.
  • P. f. pretoriae Roberts, 1922 – SW Zimbabwe and S Mozambique (Lebombo Range) S to E South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–14 cm; 16–30 g. Nominate race has dark earth-brown crown and upperparts, darker brown wings and tail; tail square, white spots on inner webs of feathers (... read more


    Not very vocal; song is a soft twittering; calls include a contact call “twee”, a... read more


    Mountains, crags, cliffs, gorges, coasts, also human habitations, including towns and cities;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera), Hymenoptera (including flying ants). Forages in pairs or small... read more


    Season mainly May–Jun/Jul and Oct–Dec in W Africa, Jan–Mar and Oct–Dec in Ethiopia; in all months in E Africa,... read more


    Resident, with local changes in numbers. Forms usually small post-breeding flocks; roosts, on... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and generally common; scarce in Namibia and Botswana. Density at Cape Town, in South Africa, was c. 5 pairs/km².... read more

    Recommended citation

    Turner, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Large Rock Martin (Ptyonoprogne fuligula). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 8 December 2019).