The Environmental area of the Town Council of Sant Joan has launched a pioneering project for the recovery of common birds that is formed of three lines of action: the recovery of the house martin, the protection of common birds and environmental education.


The municipality of Sant Joan d’Alacant is characterized by being a territory of rural tradition, so the biodiversity of its plant and animal species is intimately related to the countryside. But due to the gradual cease of agricultural activity and the urban expansion of the last years, the animal population has diminished. It is for this reason that a series of actions have been launched with the aim of helping the conservation of birds characteristic of the area.

The Environmental area of the Town Council has seen the need to harmonize the urban space with the improvement of the environmental conditions that ensure the permanence of common species, which traditionally nest in the municipality, thus contributing to restore the biodiversity characteristic of the region.


In order to carry out this project, the three main lines of action have been taken into account to work the fundamental aspects of each one of them. The Environmental Project of Recovery of the House Martin has been elaborated with the experience of a biologist for the elaboration of the house martin’s census in the municipality.

The Northern House Martin – Delichon urbicum

It is a migratory bird native of Europe and Asia, which belongs to the family of the swallows, practically extended throughout the Iberian Peninsula. It has an unmistakable bicolour plumage, bluish black in the dorsal parts, except for the striking white rump, and pure white in the ventral. There are also white-rump swifts, but their ventral parts are darker.

It is a small bird of about 14 cm with very long wings and very short legs, tiny beak and large jaws that travels thousands of miles to nest and has its offspring in areas where flying insects abound. It is an insectivorous species that helps control insect pests in wetlands since it can eat almost 1,000 insects a day. This is another reason why its preservation is essential.

The house martin has a slow and manoeuvrer flight. It lies in cables and usually flies higher than the common swallows. Although it originally nested on the cliffs and caves, birds now fix their mud nests especially on the eaves and balconies of the buildings, bridges and also on rocks at a very variable altitude.

Its migratory period goes from February to March when it arrives in Europe until September-November, passing the winter in the south of Africa.


Did you know that…?

Decoy: chirrp. It is a very gregarious species with a shorter and less varied song than that of the common swallow, with rough notes.

They practice monogamy. Usually, nesting is done in small colonies. Nests, built with mud, tend to be virtually covered except for a small entrance at the top. They are nests different from those of the common species, a species that builds them from straw indoors. They put 3 to 5 white eggs of 19 mm, sometimes, with a fine red spotted. Both parents incubate for 14 to 16 days and hatching is synchronous.

It does not breed in the Canary Islands where its passing is common.

Since this species is very common in urban areas – the exteriors of the buildings are the most common places where mud nests are built -, the environmental campaign for the recovery of this species has, as its main action, the creation of five muddy zones in different points of the municipality where these birds are concentrated. They have chosen as their home, by chance, the schools CEIP Rajoletes and CEIP Lo Romero and Mount Calvari, in the area of the municipal cemetery, to facilitate this construction work.

Preservation of the Biodiversity

In addition to this commitment to the Environmental Project of Recovery of the House Martin, the work to place nest boxes in the green spaces of Sant Joan, built from reused pallets, has begun in order to attract species such as the common great tit or the sparrow. These common birds are not exempted from the threat posed by the lack of conditioning of urban areas.

The preservation of the biodiversity of Sant Joan d’Alacant is a work that would not make sense if it does not expand horizons and begins to raise awareness among the citizens about the fact that there are certain species that need our respect and care for their survival. This is why this campaign has a pedagogical but also sustainable character. To this end, the program + Sustainable + Sant Joan has been created with initiatives such as Llars Verds (green places), Reforestation, Ecological Urban Gardens, the Mobility Week, Bike Tour, Green Week and Mostra de Cinema de Medi Ambient (Environmental cinema show).

Nests of Oroneta. Sant Joan