Common Swift: Medium-sized swift, dark brown overall with white chin and dark, deeply forked tail. Bill is black, legs and feet are gray. Swift, dashing flight on stiff, rapidly beating wings, alternating with gliding. Can reach speeds of 137 mph and spends most of its life in midair.
Range and Habitat
Common Swift: Found in Europe and Asia over lakes and wetlands. One North American record was reported from on St. Paul Island, Alaska on 28 June 1950.
The Common Swift is a small bird which spends most of its life in the air, and typically is not grounded voluntarily. During summer months, this species is found in Great Britain and northern Europe. However, the Common Swift is migratory, and spends its winters in a much warmer climate in southern Africa regions. This bird likes to reside in forests as well as areas of human activity. Nests are built wherever they are needed, whether in smokestacks and chimneys or under gables and windowsills. These birds visit the same nests every year, making repairs as necessary. Their conservation rating is Least Concern.
Common Swifts are unable to sit on branches, but occasionally they hang from them.
The scientific name comes from the Greek apous, meaning "without feet."
Young swifts in the nest can drop their body temperature and become torpid if bad weather prevents their parents from catching insects nearby.
A group of swifts are collectively known as a "box", "flock", "screaming frenzy", and "swoop" of swifts.