IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)


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Common swifts are 16-17 cm in length with a wingspan of 42-48 cm, depending upon the age of the individual. Common swifts are black-brown in color with the exception of a white to cream colored chin and throat (located directly underneath the beak). In addition, the topside of the flight feathers is a paler brown-black color in comparison to the rest of the body. Apus apus can also be distinguished by its moderately forked tail feathers, its narrow, sickle-shaped wings, as well as its shrill, screaming call.  Apus apus is frequently mistaken for a swallow or a hummingbird. Apus apus is larger and has very a different wing shape and flight pattern than do hummingbirds or swallows. All members of the family Apodidae possess a unique morphological characteristic, a lateral “grasping foot” in which toes one and two are opposed by toes three and four. This allows the common swift to occupy areas such as walls of rock, chimneys, and other vertical surfaces that would be difficult for other types of birds to inhabit. Apus apus is a sexually monomorphic species, meaning that the males and females look alike. There has been no seasonal or geographical variation reported in the appearance. However, it is possible to distinguish juveniles from adults in the slight difference in richness and uniformity of their coloration, as it is common for juveniles to be blacker in color, as well as to have a pale forehead, white-fringed feathers, and a starker white patch under the beak. This distinction is best observed at close range.

Average length: 16-17 cm.

Range wingspan: 42 to 48 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

Average mass: 44.9 g.

Average basal metabolic rate: 0.4372 W.


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Source: Animal Diversity Web


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