Swallows and martins are a group of passerine birds in the family Hirundinidae that are characterised by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Swallow is used colloquially in Europe as a synonym for the barn swallow.
This family comprises two subfamilies: Pseudochelidoninae (the river martins of the genus Pseudochelidon) and Hirundininae (all other swallows and martins). Within the Old World, the name "martin" tends to be used for the squarer-tailed species, and the name "swallow" for the more fork-tailed species; however, there is no scientific distinction between these two groups. Within the New World, "martin" is reserved for members of the genus Progne. (These two systems are responsible for the sand martin being called "bank swallow" in the New World.) The entire family contains around 83 species in 19 genera.
The swallows have a cosmopolitan distribution across the world and breed on all the continents except Antarctica. It is believed that this family originated in Africa as hole-nesters; Africa still has the greatest diversity of species. They also occur on a number of oceanic islands. A number of European and North American species are long-distance migrants; by contrast, the West and South African swallows are non-migratory.
- The martlet
Builds in the weather on the outward wall,
Even in the force and road of casualty.
- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (late 1590s), Act II, scene 9, line 28.
- This guest of summer,
The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,
By his lov'd mansionry, that the heaven's breath
Smells wooingly here; no jutty, frieze,
Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
Hath made its pendent bed, and procreant cradle:
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observ'd,
The air is delicate.
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth (1605), Act I, scene 6, line 3.
- Do you know why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.
- J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1904), Act I.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 772.
- One swallow does not make spring.
- Aristotle, Ethic, Nicom, Book I.
- Una golondrina sola no hace verano.
- One swallow alone does not make the summer.
- Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605-15), Part I, Chapter XIII.
- Down comes rain drop, bubble follows;
On the house-top one by one
Flock the synagogue of swallows,
Met to vote that autumn's gone.
- Theophile Gautier, Life, a Bubble, A Bird's-Eye View Thereof.
- But, as old Swedish legends say,
Of all the birds upon that day,
The swallow felt the deepest grief,
And longed to give her Lord relief,
And chirped when any near would come,
"Hugswala swala swal honom!"
Meaning, as they who tell it deem,
Oh, cool, oh, cool and comfort Him!
- Charles Godfrey Leland, The Swallow.
- The swallow is come!
The swallow is come!
O, fair are the seasons, and light
Are the days that she brings,
With her dusky wings,
And her bosom snowy white!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion (1839), Book II, Chapter I.
- One swallowe proveth not that summer is neare.
- John Northbrooke, Treatise against Dancing, (1577).
- It's surely summer, for there's a swallow:
Come one swallow, his mate will follow,
The bird rare quicken and wheel and thicken.
- Christina G. Rossetti, A Bird Song, Stanza 2.
- There goes the swallow,—
Could we but follow!
Hasty swallow, stay,
Point us out the way;
Look back swallow, turn back swallow, stop swallow.
- Christina G. Rossetti, Songs in a Cornfield, Stanza 7.
- The swallow follows not summer more willing than we your lordship.
- William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens (date uncertain, published 1623), Act III, scene 6, line 31.
- Now to the Goths as swift as swallow flies.
- William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus (c. 1584-1590), Act IV, scene 2, line 172.
- The swallow sweeps
The slimy pool, to build his hanging house.
- James Thomson, The Seasons, Spring (1728), line 651.
- When autumn scatters his departing gleams,
Warn'd of approaching winter, gather'd, play
The swallow-people; and toss'd wide around,
O'er the calm sky, in convolution swift,
The feather'd eddy floats; rejoicing once,
Ere to their wintry slumbers they retire.
- James Thomson, The Seasons, Autumn (1730), line 836.