Sand martin (Riparia riparia)

The smallest of the swallows and the only one with a brown coloration on the top of the body. Males do not differ in appearance from females. A typical nesting place of the bank swallows are vertical, sandy bank slopes of rivers (hence the name), where they dig 60-90 cm long burrows. The burrow expands at the end to form a nesting chamber in which the birds lay eggs and raise their chicks. When we see a bank slope full of holes, resembling Swiss cheese, we can be sure that there is a colony of bank swallows. As a result of river regulation many natural habitats of bank swallows have been destroyed. For this reason, the birds have begun to use for breeding locations created by man, such as gravel pits, sand pits, mine dumps and construction sites. Like other swallows the species preys over the water, catching insects in flight. By catching large amounts of mosquitoes, flies and beetles it performs a very beneficial role in the environment.

Confusing words

river regulation – the transformation of the natural riverbed, e.g. in order to protect the surrounding areas against flooding, or provide the possibility of river navigation