Chelidon dasypus

Chelidon dasypus, Bp. Consp, i. p. 343 (1850, ex Temm. MS.) ; Horsf. & Moore, Cat. B. E. I. Co. Mus. i. p. 384 (1854) ; Gray, Hand-1. B. i. p. 74, no. 883 (1869) ; Dresser, B. Eur. iii. p. 498 (1875) ; Sharpe, Cat. Birds in Brit. Mus. x. p. 91 (1885).
Chelidon blakistoni, Swinh. P. Z. S. 1862, p. 320 ; id. Ibis, 1863, p. 90 ; Whitely, Ibis, 1867, p. 196 ; Gray, Hand-l. 15. i. p. 74, no. 882 (1869) ; Swinh. Ibis, 1871, p. 152, pl. vii. fig. 1 ; id. Ibis, 1875, p. 44S; Blakist. & Pryer, Ibis, 1878, p. 231 ; iid. B. Japan, p. 139 (1882) ; Jouy, Pr. U.S. Nat. Mus. i. p. 290 (1882).
Delichon (?) dasypus, Salvad. Ucc. Born. p. 127 (1874).
Hirundo dasypus, Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 179 (1883).
Ch. subcaudalibus albis ; reetriee extima coneolore ; supracaudalibus longioribus nigris, reliquis albis ; mento summo et genis basaliter nigris ; corpore subtus fumoso lavato.
Hab. in insula ‘Borneo’ dieta et in insulis Jalponieis.
Adult male (type of species). General colour above dull purplish blue, with white bases to the feathers ; wing-coverts and quills blackish with a slight blue gloss ; rump and upper tail-coverts pure white, with narrow dusky shaft-lines; the long upper tail-coverts and tail-feathers blackish with a faint blue gloss ; tail very slightly forked ; head like the back ; lores and feathers below the eye black ; ear-coverts dull purplish blue, as also the sides of the neck and sides of upper breast, the latter slightly mottled with white bases; fore part of checks and a spot at the base of the chin black; hinder part of cheeks and under surface of body creamy bull', washed with smoky brown on the breast and flanks, with a little purer white on the fore neck and abdomen; under tail-coverts smoky brown, broadly edged with whitish, the long coverts blacker, with broad whitish edgings ; axillaries and under wing-coverts dark brown, the small coverts near the edge of the wing edged with pale smoky brown ; quills dull ashy brown below: "bill black; iris black” ill. Whitely). Total length 4.6 inches, culmen 0.3, wing 1.1, tail 1.75, tarsus 0.5. (Mus. Lugd.)
Adult female. Similar to the male in colour, but with one of the central long upper tail-coverts smoky brown, with a black shaft and a whitish margin at the tips ; the under surface of the body much whiter, with a smoky buff tinge on the throat, abdomen, and sides of body ; the under tail-coverts white with a blackish shaft-streak. Total length 4.7 inches, culmen 0.35, wing tail 1.8, tarsus 0.45. (Mus. Lugd.)
Hab. Borneo ; Japan. Doubtless occurring in intervening localities during migration.
Blakiston’s Martin is easily distinguished from its other Palaearctic allies by the black on the chin and bases of the cheeks, and by the shape of the tail, which is much loss forked than in Chelidon urbica or C. cashmiriensis. It was originally described from Borneo, and we have examined the type specimens in the Leyden Museum and compared them directly with a Japanese example. There can be no doubt as to the specific identity of these specimens, although from such distant localities.
The Bornean specimens were for many years the sole representatives of the species in the museums of Europe, and it is not a little extraordinary that the species has since escaped the notice of all the excellent collectors who have worked in that island. Nor has it yet been found in any of the Philippine Islands, although, as was pointed out by the late Consul Swinhoe, it probably goes southwards with other Japanese species (such as Sturnia pyrrhogenys) which do not visit China on migration, but winter in the Philip¬pines (cf. Ibis, 1874, p. 152).
For the discovery of the present species in Japan we are indebted to that veteran naturalist Captain Blakiston, after whom the specimens were named by Consul Swinhoe : but later on the latter gentleman had great doubts as to the distinctness of his Chelidon blakistoni from C. dasypus of Borneo, and, as it has turned out, the identity of the two is now fully established.
Mr. Henry Whitely was the next observer who sent specimens to Europe. He found it near Hakodate, where he procured two specimens on the 17th of April, but he remarked that it was not common there. These two specimens are in the British Museum.
In the list of the Birds of Japan written by Capt. Blakiston and Mr. H. Pryer, we find the following note on this Martin :—“This species was collected first at Hakodate, where it breeds in numbers under overhanging cliffs and in caves. It has since been found in other parts of Japan, Fuji, Nikko, and on the summit of Ominesanjo in Yamato, being the common High-mountain and Cliff-Martin of the country. It is very abundant at Chinsenji, where it may be seen flying over the lake and about the Kegon waterfall in thousands. Eggs white. Nest outwardly of mud, lined with grass and feathers, generally placed in a cranny of roeks.” In the ‘Amended List’ of Japanese birds by Capt. Blakiston, the present species is stated to be common to Yezo and Japan generally.
Mr. Jouy writes :—“We found these birds breeding in considerable numbers on the sides of an inaccessible cliff or chasm on Fuji-yama, above the limit of forest growth. Their nests must have been composed largely of saliva, as there is no mud in that volcanic region. Many of the birds, when shot, had their mouths full of fine scoria ; dust, of which they were evidently making their nests. We saw the birds on some of the higher passes in Shinshin in September.” All Mr. Jouy’s specimens were obtained in July.
It will be seen from the above notes that the species is found in Japan at least from April, when Mr. Whitely’s specimens were procured, to September, when Mr. Jouy noticed it. Nothing has been recorded of the time of migration, though we presume that, like other Martins, the present species leaves its northern residence in the winter, and it is then doubtless that it occurs in Borneo.
The descriptions of the plumages are taken from the British-Museum ‘Catalogue of Birds.' The Plate is drawn from a skin in Mr. H. Seebohm’s collection.

A Monograph Of The Hirundinidae Or Family Of Swallows.
Sharpe, Richard Bowdler, and Claude Wilmott Wyatt. A Monograph of the Hirundinidae: Or Family of Swallows. Vol. 1. 1894.
Title in Book: 
Chelidon dasypus
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Richard Bowdler
Page No: 
Common name: 
Blakistons Martin
Asian House Martin
Delichon dasypus
Vol. 1
Term name: 

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith