Purple Martin Progne subis Scientific name definitions

Charles R. Brown, Daniel A. Airola, and Scott Tarof
Version: 2.0 — Published September 10, 2021


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Skull Ossification

Ossification can be complete within 1 yr (2). Skulls of juveniles before migration are all non-ossified. Yearling birds can show no, partial, or full ossification. All adults (birds ≥ 2 yr old) show full ossification. Presence of a clear area on an otherwise ossified skull generally indicates a yearling individual, whereas an almost entirely clear skull implies, but does not prove, that the individual is a juvenile. A bird with a fully ossified skull may be either a yearling or an adult bird (2), and therefore aging by skull ossification alone can be problematic.

Recommended Citation

Brown, C. R., D. A. Airola, and S. Tarof (2021). Purple Martin (Progne subis), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.purmar.02