Common Swift

Apus apus

Order

APODIFORMES

Family

Swifts (Apodidae)

Code 4

COSW

Code 6

APUAPU

ITIS

  • wgba_banner
  • ibird_banner
  • journal_banner
1 2 3

ILLUSTRATION

ask community
Copyright © 2004 - 2014 Mitch Waite Group

PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Common Swift is a small bird which spends most of its life in the air, and typically is not grounded voluntarily. During summer months, this species is found in Great Britain and northern Europe. However, the Common Swift is migratory, and spends its winters in a much warmer climate in southern Africa regions. This bird likes to reside in forests as well as areas of human activity. Nests are built wherever they are needed, whether in smokestacks and chimneys or under gables and windowsills. These birds visit the same nests every year, making repairs as necessary. Their conservation rating is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Common Swift: Medium-sized swift, dark brown overall with white chin and dark, deeply forked tail. Bill is black, legs and feet are gray. Swift, dashing flight on stiff, rapidly beating wings, alternating with gliding. Can reach speeds of 137 mph and spends most of its life in midair.


Range and Habitat

Common Swift: Found from Western Europe to eastern Asia and from Scandinavia and Siberia to North Africa, Himalayas, and central China. Can be found throughout this range during the breeding season and, following migration, spends the winter months in Southern Africa, from Zaire and Tanzania south to Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Prefers areas with trees, or buildings, with open spaces.

whatbird search for your browser

SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"vzz-vzz", "screeeeee", "scirrrrrrr"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Common Swifts are unable to sit on branches, but occasionally they hang from them.
  • The scientific name comes from the Greek apous, meaning "without feet."
  • Young swifts in the nest can drop their body temperature and become torpid if bad weather prevents their parents from catching insects nearby.
  • A group of swifts are collectively known as a "box", "flock", "screaming frenzy", and "swoop" of swifts.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Common Swift

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

.
ChinX
The area of the face just below the bill.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X