Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Apodiformes / Apodidae / Apus / Species
Apus apus - Common swift (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)

INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Swift.
  • Northern Swift.
  • European Swift.
  • Gierzwaluw (Holland).
  • Martinet noir (France).
  • Mauersegler (Germany).
  • Rondone (Italy).
  • Vencejo común (Spain).
  • Tornseglare (Sweden).

(B19, B162)

Names for newly-hatched

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Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Gordon McLeod

Species Editor

Debra Bourne

Major References

B19, B162, B163, B164, B165, B166 

Aviculture references:

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

  • --

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Swallows, Swifts, Nightjars.

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

--
Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length Head to tail:

Wingspan:

  • General: 42-48cm (B162); 40-44cm (B164)

Winglength:

  • General: 167-178mm. (B162)
Adult weight General Average 41.3g. (B162)
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Short and thin; black. (B162, B164, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Eyes Male Black. (B162, B164, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Bill Black. (B162, B164, B166)
Eyes (Iris) Black. (B162, B164, B166)

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Legs

Adult Male Short; black. (B162, B164, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Black. (B162, B164, B166)

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Plumage

Adult Male
  • Upperparts: Black.
  • Head: Black.
  • Underparts: Black; throat grey.
  • Wings: Black. underside (whole wing) dark grey.
  • Tail: Short and forked; upper and under: black.

(B162, B164, B166)

Variations (If present) --
Juvenile
  • Upperparts: Black with white edging to feathers.
  • Wings: Black with white edging to feathers.
  • Underparts: Throat white.

(B162, B165)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Altricial, helpless, naked, eyes closed. (B163, B166)

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year
No. of Clutches 1. (B163, B166)

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Nest placement and structure

  • Colonial.
  • Territorial defence of nest-site occurs.
  • Located in roof of a building or less often, in a hole in a tree.
  • Saucer-shaped depression composed of straw, leaves and feathers stuck together with saliva.
  • Nest-boxes used.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 2-3 (B162, B163); 3. (B166)
Range 1-4. (B162, B163)
Egg description: Smooth, not glossy; narrow elliptical, 25mm long.

(B162, B163)

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Incubation

19-27 days (B162); 18-27 days (B163); 14-20 days. (B166)

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Hatching

Within 1 day. (B163)

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Fledging

Variable with poor weather conditions. 37-56 days (B162, B163); 5-8 weeks. (B166)

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Sexual Maturity

Males --
Females --

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Prey caught in flight. (B162, B163)
Newly-hatched Fed by parents. (B163)

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Built by both birds. (B163)
Incubation By both parents. (B163)
Newly-hatched Fed by both parents. (B163)
Juveniles

Completely independent after fledging. (B162)

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific
  • Gregarious in breeding season, and for most of the year.
  • Colonial breeders, usually up to 30-40 pairs, rarely up to 100 pairs.

(B162)

Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Monogamous pair-bonds for life.
  • Pair do not associate throughout year, and arrive at breeding site separately.

(B162)

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Predation in Wild

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Activity Patterns

  • Exclusively aerial lifestyle.
  • Takes off and lands on buildings.

(B166)

Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

  • Aphids and other airborne insects.
  • Airborne spiders.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Newly-hatched

Insects. (B162, B163)

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Widespread thoughout western Palearctic, east to 120ºE, south as far as Iran and the north-west Himalayas. (B162)

Britain: Breeding season only, migrating south by September; not found in north and north-west coast of Scotland. (B166)

Migration:

  • All western Palearctic populations migrate southwards to Africa in winter.
  • Mass movements also occur during breeding season in relation to poor weather - atmospheric depression and rainfall.

(B162)

Occasional and Accidental Spitzbergen, Iceland (annually), Azores, Madeira. (B162)
Introduced

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Habitat

  • Towns.
  • Freshwater lakes.
  • Heath and moorland.
  • Buildings, cliff faces, and tall trees.

(B162, B166)

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Common throughout range. (B162)

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats --

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Captive Populations

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Trade

--

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