Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Least Concern

Mascarene Martin (Phedina borbonica)


French: Hirondelle des Mascareignes German: Maskarenenschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina de las Mascareñas

Hirundo borbonica

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

"Franciae insula" = Mauritius


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. b. madagascariensis Hartlaub, 1860 – Madagascar, possibly also Pemba I (off E Tanzania); migrates to E Africa.
  • P. b. borbonica#R (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Mauritius and Reunion I.
  • Descriptive notes

    15 cm; 18–24 g. Nominate race has crown and upperparts grey-brown with fine dark streaks; wings and tail dark brown, tail with shallow fork, tertials with pale edges... read more


    Song is a warbling “siri-liri siri-liri”; calls include a “chip” contact... read more


    Open and semi-open country. On Mauritius and Reunion, feeds over reservoirs, woodland and thickets... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes beetles (Coleoptera) and Hymenoptera. Forages singly or in small groups with other swallows and swifts (Apodidae), close to... read more


    Aug–Nov in Madagascar, Sept–Dec on Mauritius and Reunion. In groups of c. 3–20 pairs. Nest an open cup of twigs and other... read more


    Resident with post-breeding dispersal on Mauritius and Reunion (nominate race); absent from... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common but somewhat local in Madagascar; no recent data on population size, but in mid-20th century large numbers (“hundreds”) recorded in non-... read more

    Recommended citation

    Turner, A. (2020). Mascarene Martin (Phedina borbonica). 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 26 February 2020).