Fork-tailed Swift: Large swift, brown-black overall with white throat and rump, scaled belly, and long, deeply forked tail. Bill is black, legs and feet are gray-black. Rapid flight on stiff, quickly beating swept-back wings, alternating with gliding flight. Catches insects midflight.
Range and Habitat
Fork-tailed Swift: A rare vagrant in western Europe, but has been recorded as far west as Norway and Great Britain; spends winters south to Australia. Casual to rare summer visitor on the western Aleutians and Pribilof islands of Alaska. Preferred habitats include mountains and human habitations, usually near water.
The Fork-tailed Swift has a large range of around 10 million square kilometers. The population of this bird species has not yet been quantified. The bird is considered to be common within its native range, which is why it is now rated as Least Concern. This bird was once rated as Lower Risk. The Fork-tailed Swift is native to Asia and is sometimes a visitor to portions of the Europe and Australia. There is no reason to think at this time that the Fork-tailed Swift is facing any immediate threats or dangers to its population or range.
The Fork-tailed Swift is also known as the Pacific Swift and Neotropical Palm Swift.
These birds have very short legs which they use only for clinging to vertical surfaces. The scientific name comes from the Greek apous, meaning "without feet." They never settle voluntarily on the ground.
This swift is superficially similar to a House Martin, however it is completely unrelated to those passerine species, since swifts are in the order Apodiformes. The resemblances between the groups are due to convergent evolution reflecting similar life styles.
A group of swifts are collectively known as a "box", "flock", "screaming frenzy", and "swoop" of swifts.