Caribbean Martin (Progne dominicensis)

Caribbean Martin


The Caribbean martin or white-bellied martin (Progne dominicensis) is a large swallow.

Distribution And Habitat

The Caribbean Martin is a fairly common breeding resident in much of the West Indies including Puerto Rico (Raffaele and others 1998). It is considered a common summer visitor in Vieques (Gemmill 2015). Most migrate out of the region for the winter, presumably to South America (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998). This species occurs mostly in open areas with scattered trees and in rocky outcrops (Oberle 2018), as well as in towns, near freshwater bodies and coastal areas with rock promontories (Raffaele and others 1998). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 260 records within 172 hexagons or 36 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 172 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 27 percent (46) of the hexagons, probable in 15 percent (26), and possible in 48 percent (83), while the species was observed in 10 percent (17) of the hexagons but without evidence of breeding (see map).

Caribbean Martin Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Caribbean Martin nests in single pairs or small colonies in cavities in palms, trees, cliffs, or human-made structures (Oberle 2018) from February to August, according to previously published reports (Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results indicate that the highest breeding activity for this species is during May and June (see chart). Results show that the Caribbean Martin breeds within all ecological life zones, but mostly in the subtropical moist (66 percent of the hexagons) and subtropical dry forest (23 percent of the hexagons) life zones, and to a lesser extent in the subtropical wet (10 percent of the hexagons) and subtropical rain forest (1 percent of the hexagons) life zones (see table and map).


The Caribbean Martin’s global population size has not been quantified or assessed, but the species is described as fairly common but patchily distributed, and it is listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER or USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Caribbean Martin has a protected habitat in land of 9 percent or 349 km 2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (3681 km 2 ).