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)
      40'000 - 60'000 (2013-2016)
      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