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Sex and age


Purple Martins subspecies

Desert purple martins have slightly smaller bodies, and females tend to be paler in color than other subspecies.

Desert Purple Martin imposters

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Explore the swallow family tree with some species that might look like Desert Purple Martin.



Purple Martins are aerial insectivores, which means they feed on insects while flying. Feeds on a variety of flying insects, including wasps and winged ants, and some bees; true bugs, flies, beetles, moths, and butterflies. Dragonflies seem to be they favorite item of their diet.  

We don’t know exactly what desert Purple Martin eat, but other Purple Martin subspecies eat flying insects. Here are a few common species of flying insects in the Sonoran Desert that could be a desert Purple Martin meal.