Sand Martin

This species is defined as a Review Species. Please submit your records of this species via our record submission page.

Scientific Name: Riparia riparia
Malay Name: Layang-layang Perang Belang Biasa
Chinese Name: 崖沙燕
Alternative Name(s): Common Sand Martin

Found throughout the Holarctic (which encompasses majority of habitats found throughout the northern continents of the world) and winters to South America, sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent, southern China and Southeast Asia

Polytypic. Subspecies are: riparia, taczanowskii, ijimae, shelleyi.

Local Subspecies: ijimae

Size: 11.5-13 cm

Adult resembles Barn Swallow and Asian House Martin but has all brown upperparts, contrasting whitish underparts with broad brown breast-band and shallow forked tail. Juvenile resembles adult but has less distinct breast-band.

Similar looking species: Barn Swallow, Asian House Martin

Habitat: Lakes, rivers, reservoirs and coastal areas.


Local Status: Rare migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2019)

Featured reports: Mar 2022, Nov 2022, Dec 2022

Past accepted records in our database:

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

BirdLife International. (2019). Riparia riparia. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019. Accessed on 1 January 2023
Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.
Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.