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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
608-266-4340

Purple Martin (Progne subis)


Overview

Overview

The Purple Martin (Progne subis), a Special Concern species in Wisconsin, is the largest of North American swallows with a large head and chest. The males are covered entirely with a glossy bluish-black plumage. Females have the blue-black plumage on their back with a light gray chest and belly. While found throughout the state, the species is predominately concentrated in the southeastern and east central regions of the state. The Purple Martin is generally found in open habitats and areas close to water, particularly near or in human settlements. Humans now provide nearly all nesting sites used by this species to include established structures like birdhouses or nest boxes and gourds. Natural tree cavities were utilized historically and in a few cases to date. The avoidance period is from late April to late August. During this period, three to eight white eggs are laid that are incubated by the female for 15 to 18 days. After hatching, the hatchlings are tended by both adults.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Purple Martin (Progne subis). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.


Documented locations of Progne subis in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/M
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2S3B
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY
WWAP SGCN

Species guidance


A guidance document is not available at this time. However, the bird calendar [PDF] contains dates for avoiding impacts to this and other rare Wisconsin birds when planning management activities.

Photos/Video

Photos


Purple Martin

Photo © Jack Bartholmai.

Purple Martin

Photo © Jack Bartholmai.

Purple Martin

Photo © Jack Bartholmai.

Purple Martin

Photo © Jack Bartholmai.

Purple Martin

Photo © Jack Bartholmai.

Purple Martin

Photo © Jack Bartholmai.

Purple Martin

Photo © Jack Bartholmai.

Purple Martin

Photo © Jack Bartholmai.

Purple Martin

Photo © Jack Bartholmai.

Purple Martin

Photo © Jack Bartholmai.


Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Purple Martin. Only natural communities for which Purple Martin is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Purple Martin. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Purple Martin occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.


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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

Ecological LandscapeCommunity
Central Lake Michigan Coastal Emergent Marsh
Central Lake Michigan Coastal Great Lakes Beach
Central Lake Michigan Coastal Lake Michigan
Central Lake Michigan Coastal Surrogate Grasslands
Central Lake Michigan Coastal Warmwater rivers
Central Sand Hills Coastal Plain Marsh
Central Sand Hills Emergent Marsh
Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Emergent Marsh
Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Floating-leaved Marsh
Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Great Lakes Beach
Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Lake Michigan
Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Surrogate Grasslands
Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Warmwater rivers
Northwest Sands Emergent Marsh
Northwest Sands Large Lake--deep, hard, seepage
Northwest Sands Large Lake--deep, soft+, seepage
Northwest Sands Large Lake--shallow, hard, seepage
Northwest Sands Large Lake--shallow, soft, seepage
Northwest Sands Surrogate Grasslands
Southeast Glacial Plains Emergent Marsh
Southeast Glacial Plains Floating-leaved Marsh
Southeast Glacial Plains Large Lake--deep, hard, drainage
Southeast Glacial Plains Large Lake--deep, hard, seepage
Southeast Glacial Plains Large Lake--deep, soft+, seepage
Southeast Glacial Plains Large Lake--deep, soft, drainage
Southeast Glacial Plains Large Lake--shallow, hard, seepage
Southeast Glacial Plains Large Lake--shallow, soft, drainage
Southeast Glacial Plains Large Lake--shallow, soft, seepage
Southeast Glacial Plains Small Lake--other
Southeast Glacial Plains Southern Sedge Meadow
Southeast Glacial Plains Surrogate Grasslands
Southeast Glacial Plains Warmwater rivers
Southeast Glacial Plains Wet Prairie
Southeast Glacial Plains Wet-mesic Prairie
Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Emergent Marsh
Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Lake Michigan
Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Surrogate Grasslands
Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Wet Prairie
Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Wet-mesic Prairie
Western Prairie Emergent Marsh
Western Prairie Surrogate Grasslands

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Tuesday, November 28, 2017