PM Vocalizations

"Throaty and rich tchew-wew, etc., or pew pew. Song gurgling, ending in a succession of low rich gutturals"

-Peterson, Roger Tory, A Field Guide to the Birds, A Completely New Guide to All the Birds of Eastern and Central North America, Houghton Mifflin:New York, 1980, pg 202.

Male Purple Martin Croak Song

"Male's primary courtship signal, given frequently while trying to attract mates and often directed at a mate throughout egg-laying. Always given in presence of a female, and male clearly orients toward her when singing. Croak Songs are commonly given in predawn hours while birds are still inside nest cavities. Since this song is not used at all in intrasexual interactions among males, it is likely an intersexually selected trait; females possible use song characteristics to select mates and/or extra-pair copulation partners."

(Brown, C.R. 1997. Purple Martin (Progne Subis). In The Birds of North America, No. 287 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.)

Male Purple Martin Dawnsong

"Dawnsong is a unique set of vocalizations performed by adult male martins during the predawn hours of spring while flying high above their colony sites, or while perched nearby. It is a loud, continuous series of chirps presented in a syncopated series of about seven to nine notes repeated over and over. Each male flies his own path in slow, wide circles about 500 feet up, singing his own unique song. It is estimated that the sounds from a morning of dawnsong transmit to about 100 cubic miles of air volume."

Hill, James R., Purple Martin Dawnsong, For Attracting Martins!, pg. 3.)

Tapes and CDs available.

(Requires a browser plug-in capable of playing .au sound files)

The Voice of the Purple Martin
From Bent's Life Histories
Contributed by Alexander Sprunt, Jr

This section of article on the life history of the Purple Martin is reprinted from the famous, 26-volume series known as: Life Histories of North American Birds (1919-68). The series was edited and written, mostly by Arthur Cleveland Bent (1866-1954), a businessman who from boyhood had been a dedicated amateur ornithologist. The chapter on the Purple Martin is from the volume titled: Life Histories of North American Flycatchers, Larks, Swallows, and their Allies, published in 1942 by the Smithsonian Institution as their National Museum Bulletin 179. It was written by Alexander Sprunt, Jr. Bent's Life Histories are still available in bound, reprint form from Dover Publications, Inc., New York, NY. They make entertaining and informative reading.?