Bird Watching

Our garden birds: The swift – wild birds, bats, hedgehogs and insects

Loud NABU The number of swifts has fallen drastically from year to year, as shown by the results of the “Hour of the Garden Birds” over the last 16 years. In large cities, especially in Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main, Freiburg, Dresden and Leipzig, however, they are increasingly sighted. Despite the strong decline in recent years, the population of the common swift is not endangered and has so far been stable.

The appearance of the swifts

The common swift is often mistaken for a species of swallow because of its appearance, flight behavior and way of life. However, this is not correct, since the common swift belongs to the swift family (Apodidae). However, it is more closely related to the alpine swifts, which come from the same family and whose characteristics differ only marginally from one another. The wings are fully spread when gliding.

The silhouette of the common swift in flight is similar to that of a swallow – but they are not related (Source: Adobe Stock)

The behavior of the swift

Common swifts are long-distance migrants, i.e. migratory birds whose breeding areas are very far away from the wintering areas. Most of this bird’s life takes place in the air, almost without interruption. His sleeping place is also in the air. The ground is only touched for breeding. In a dive, it can even reach a speed of more than 200 kilometers per hour. Swifts are very sociable birds, which is why they often fly in company. Their screams are very shrill and noticeable.

Where does the common swift fly in winter and when does it come back?

The common swift stays in Central Europe from the beginning of May to the beginning of August. Then he flies to Africa, his winter quarters are mainly south of the equator.

How does the swift nest?

Built-in stones are “fused” directly with the masonry during house construction

While the common swift is in Central Europe, it breeds once during this period. The clutch contains about 2-3 white eggs per brood. A flat nest is built in caves, in buildings in wall holes or directly under the roof or in nesting boxes, which consists of feathers, straw and other material. This is glued together with saliva.

Both parents collect the food in their throat pouch. The nestling period depends heavily on the weather and is 38-56 days, but mostly over 40 days.

Buy a nesting box for swifts now

The swift got its name because it soars around walls and nests in them.

What does the swift eat?

The common swift feeds exclusively on flying insects and spiders, but mainly flies, aphids and beetles.

File of the Common Swift

  • Scientific name: apus apus
  • Family: sailors
  • Size: 16-17cm
  • Weight: 36-50g
  • Wingspan: 42-48 cm
  • Number of broods: 1 per year
  • Breeding season: May to August
  • Clutch size: 2-3 eggs per brood
  • Incubation period: 20 days
  • Nestling period: 38-56 days
  • Food: insects and spiders
  • Life expectancy: about 9 years, up to 20 years in captivity

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button