Information About Purple Martins

Information About Purple Martins
There are an estimated 11 million purple martins in the world. It is the largest population of swallows in North America. In the eastern United States, the species has lived almost exclusively in bird boxes for 100 years.


Long before European settlers came to the New World, Native Americans would hollow out gourds and hang them up for purple martins to nest in. Some modern nesting boxes have compartments for hundreds of birds.



The purple martin has a bright purple and bluish body, a tail that is forked on the end and black legs, feet and bill. The birds are excellent fliers, able to capture insects as they zoom through the air.


Purple martins eat beetles, flies, bees, moths and dragonflies.

Expert Insight

The female purple martin builds the nest using grass and twigs and mud at the bottom of the hole to the bird house. The males, meanwhile, defend the nest.


The male purple martin sings a song that includes chirping sounds, whistles and clicking. The female's singing consists of loud and soft whistling.


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