Birds of Switzerland
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    Common Swift

    Apus apus

    Information

    Hardly any other bird is adapted better to life in the air than the Common Swift. This excellent aerial hunter resembles a swallow but flies at breakneck speed. It sleeps and mates on the wing. With Common Swifts wheeling higher and higher at dusk, it used to be thought that they returned when it was dark or spent the night on the moon. Emil Weitnauer, an ornithologist who lived near Basel, studied the night life of the Common Swift in detail, originally by balloon and aircraft, aided by strong headlights, later by radar.

    Voice

    Status (in CH)
    regular, common breeder and migrant
    Annual cycle
    The bar on the top line indicates during which seasons the species can be observed regularly in Switzerland. There can be great seasonal fluctuations of numbers. The middle bar indicates the typical migration seasons of a species. The bottom bar indicates the period during which the species normally breeds. As a rule it spans the period from egg-laying to fledging of the young.
    Annual cycle
    Annual cycle

    Facts

    Population size in Switzerland (Pairs)
    50'000 - 75'000 (2008-2012)
    Migration behaviour
    long-distance migrant
    Diurnal/nocturnal migrant
    Diurnal and nocturnal migrant
    Length (cm)
    16-17
    wing span (cm)
    40-44
    Weight (g)
    36-50
    Nest site
    buildings
    Food
    insects, spiders
    Group
    Swifts
    Habitat
    settlements
    Distribution
    Distribution
    Distribution