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Eurasian Swift

About Eurasian Swift

Sleek, fast-flying with long, curved, tapering wings and short forked tail. Plumage dark grayish-black all over, with whitish throat; legs and bill black; eyes dark brown.

They nest in colonies under eaves or roofs of buildings, in rock crevices or woodpecker holes.

They make a shallow cup-shaped nest of plant material and feathers, gathered from the air and held together by saliva. They have 2-4 white eggs which are incubated by the female for 14-20 days. The chicks are fed by both parents.

All swifts are aerial birds, but the Eurasian holds the record for nonstop flight. From the time it leaves the nest to the time it breeds, it spends all of its time in the air. It can take up to three to four years before a Eurasian Swift is ready to breed, that means for the first three to four years of life it doesn’t land. It is able to live like this because it gets all of its food out of the air. It eats only airborne insects and spiders.

It will swoop down to ponds or lakes and scoop up a mouthful of water. It can even sleep while it is flying by going up high in the sky and circling with slow, instinctive wingbeats and short glides.

But, it cannot nest in the air so it will do so in buildings, gathering in colonies every spring.

If the weather is bad, insect prey may be hard to find, but the chicks can survive without food for a couple of days by becoming torpid (physically intactive). Usually the northern summers allow them to find food and by August the birds are ready to fly back to Africa for the winter.