Common swift — Apus apus

Small endemic swift of Cape Verde. Smaller and more gray-brown compared to other swifts, with prominent whitish throat patch. Note shallow forked tail. Flight faster and more fluttering than Common Swift and the closely-related Plain Swift. Calls very similar to Common Swift, but slightly higher-pitched.

Photo: Look how gorgeous Common swift — Apus apus

Description Common swift — Apus apus

1200The Apus apus, commonly known as the common swift, is a small bird that belongs to the Apodidae family. These birds are known for their aerial prowess, spending most of their lives on the wing, only landing to breed. Here are some main points about the distribution of the common swift:

The common swift has a vast distribution across Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. They are migratory birds, spending the breeding season in Europe and then migrating to tropical Africa for winter. The distribution of the common swift covers a wide range of habitats, from urban areas to open countryside, making them a familiar sight in many different landscapes.

Breeding Range:
In Europe, the common swift breeds in a broad range that spans from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa in the south, to northern Scotland and Scandinavia in the north. They can also be found breeding in western and central Asia. During the breeding season, common swifts seek out suitable nest sites in buildings, cliffs, or trees, with a preference for urban areas where they can find suitable nesting spaces in buildings and other man-made structures.

After the breeding season, common swifts embark on a remarkable migration to sub-Saharan Africa, where they spend the winter months. Their migration takes them across vast distances, and they are known for their long periods of flight without landing. The common swift’s migration is an impressive feat of endurance and navigation, with individuals covering thousands of kilometers to reach their wintering grounds.

Non-breeding Range:
During the non-breeding season, the common swift can be found across tropical Africa, where they take advantage of the insect-rich environments to feed and rest. Their non-breeding range encompasses countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, and other sub-Saharan African nations, where they join other species of swifts and swallows in exploiting the abundant insect populations.

Overall, the common swift’s distribution is widespread, encompassing diverse habitats and spanning vast geographical areas during different phases of its annual cycle. With their remarkable aerial abilities and migratory behavior, common swifts are a fascinating and iconic species in the avian world.

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