Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Purple Martin (Progne subis) - HBW 9, p. 655

French: Hirondelle noire German: Purpurschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina Purpúrea

Taxonomy: Hirundo subis Linnaeus, 1758, Hudson Bay, Canada.
Forms a superspecies with all congeners except P. tapera. Sometimes considered conspecific with P. cryptoleuca, P. dominicensis and P. sinaloae. Taxonomy uncertain, and subspecific status of birds in N Rockies, on Pacific coast, and in SW USA and Mexico unclear. Birds from S Arizona described as race oberholseri, usually considered synonymous with hesperia. Three subspecies generally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • arboricola Behle, 1968 - mountains of W North America (probably including Pacific North-west) E to Rocky Mts and S to NW & N Mexico (including N Baja California); winters probably in South America.
  • subis (Linnaeus, 1758) - E of Rocky Mts, from S Canada (C Alberta and C Saskatchewan E to SW & S Ontario, S Quebec, E New Brunswick and NW Nova Scotia) S to S USA (E from C Plains States, W Kansas and C & SW Texas) and C Mexican Highlands; winters in South America E of Andes.
  • hesperia Brewster, 1889 - SW USA (S Arizona lowlands) and NW Mexico (S Baja California, and lowlands S to SC Sonora, possibly along coast to N Sinaloa and on Gulf of California islands); probably winters in South America.