Sand martin at nest entrance

Sand martin

Sand martins are so named because they nest in sandy river banks or sandy coastal cliffs. The males dig burrows in the cliff and the females then do any final excavations needed to turn the burrows into nest chambers.

How to identify swifts, swallows and martins.

Scientific name: Riparia riparia

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Bank swallow,
  • Collared sand martin,
  • European sand martin

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Map showing the distribution of the Sand martin taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Sand martin can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Madagascar, Mediterranean, North America, Russia, South America, United Kingdom, Wales, Ynys-hir nature reserve. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Sand martin distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


BBC News about Sand martin