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Riparia cincta (Banded martin) 

Gebande oewerswael [Afrikaans]; Sisampamema (generic term for swallows, martins, swifts and spinetails) [Kwangali]; Lekabelane (generic term for swallows or martins) [South Sotho]; Nyenganyenga (generic name for swallow or martin) [Shona]; Mbawulwana, Nyenga (generic term for swallow) [Tsonga]; Pêolwane, Phêtla (generic terms for swifts, martins and swallows) [Tswana]; bandoeverzwaluw, witbrauwzwaluw [Dutch]; Hirondelle à collier [French]; Bindenschwalbe, Weißbrauenschwalbe, Gebänderte uferschwalbe [German]; Andorinha-das-barreiras-de-colar [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes  > Family: Hirundinidae

Riparia cincta (Banded martin)  Riparia cincta (Banded martin) 

Banded martin. [photo Jeff Poklen ©]

Banded martin. [photo Sion Stanton ©]

Distribution and habitat

Patchy across sub-Saharan Africa, with isolated populations in West and East Africa but with a large proportion  south of the equator, from southern DRC to southern Africa. Here it occurs across much of the eastern half of South Africa extending into the Western Cape around Cape Town. It also occupies scattered areas of northern Namibia (including the Caprivi Strip, where it is common), northern, eastern and southern Botswana, Zimbabwe and the extreme south of Mozambique. It generally prefers dry grassland, shrubland, marshes (especially in the Okavango Delta) and pastures. It is rarely observed over rocky shorelines or along the borders of estuaries.

Distribution of Banded martin in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Greater honeyguide.

Movements and migrations

Intra-African breeding migrant, arriving in South Africa and Zimbabwe around September-October, later in central Namibia. It departs around April-May for its non-breeding grounds, which are probably in equatorial Africa. However, it is resident in southern Mozambique as well as northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip.


It mainly eats flying insects, usually foraging by flying slowly near the ground, often hawking prey disturbed by bushfires, zebras, antelope or cattle.


  • The nest is a structure made of feathers and grass, placed in a chamber connected to a upward-sloping tunnel. It is usually dug into a stream bank, erosion gully or sand pit.
  • Egg-laying season is from August-March, peaking from November-February.
  • It lays 2-4 glossy white eggs.
  • In one observation the chicks are fed by both adults, leaving the nest after about 21-24 days. The following food items were recorded in their diet:


Not threatened, in fact has benefited from the clearing of woodland for agricultural development.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

  • Harrison, J.A., Allan, D.G., Underhill, L.G., Herremans, M., Tree. A.J., Parker, V. & Brown, C.J. (eds). 1997. The atlas of southern African birds. Vol. 2: Passerines. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.