Swift Facts

Swift Facts
Swift is a type of bird that belongs to the family Apodidae. There are more than 75 species of swifts that can be found around the world, except near the polar regions, southern parts of Chile and Argentina, on the New Zealand and Australia. Swifts look like swallows, but they are actually more closely related to hummingbirds. Some species of swifts are endangered due to habitat destruction, predation and lack of food.
Interesting Swift Facts:
Swift can reach 3.5 to 9 inches in length and 1.4 to 6.5 ounces of weight.
Swift is covered with grey, brown or black plumage with light-colored markings on the neck, throat, belly and rump.
Swift has soft, slightly curved beak, chunky body, elongated, narrow wings and forked tail.
Swift has moveable bristles above eyes that protect eyes from sunlight like sunglasses.
Swift is excellent flier that spends almost entire life in the sky. It sleeps, eats, drinks and mates in the air. Swift returns to the ground only to produce offspring.
Swift is diurnal bird (active during the day).
Swift feed on insects (such as flies, mosquitoes, aphids, beetles...) and spiders.
Swift is one of the fastest birds on the planet. It can fly at the speed of 70 to 115 miles per hour and travel more than 124.000 miles per year.
Swift can fly at the height of 10.000 feet (smaller jets fly at that altitude). These birds are able to fly during the night and adjust speed and direction of the flight using only half of the brain (while other half is sleeping).
Swifts that live in temperate areas are migratory. Some European species of swifts travel 4.000 to 6.000 miles each year on their way to Africa.
Main predators of swifts are falcons, hobbies, kestrels and few species of owls.
Swift usually builds nests in the old buildings, towers and other tall man-made structures. It uses saliva (as glue) and twigs, moss and branches to create compact mass.
Female lays 1 to 6 white eggs (usually 2 to 3) that hatch after incubation of 19 to 23 days. Unlike other species of birds, newborn swifts are able to decrease body temperature and slow down metabolism to survive scarcity of food. When food becomes available, youngsters grow and develop as quickly as possible.
Both parents take care of the chicks. They bring balls of food (called boluses) composed of 300 to 1000 insects. Before they leave the nest, chicks start to exercise wing muscles by lifting their own body weight using the wings. This improves strength and durability of wing muscles and ensures successful life in the air. At the age of 6 to 10 weeks, chicks leave their nests for the first time and they never return back.
Swift can survive around 5.5 years in the wild.

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