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Apus apus 01.jpg
Common Swift, Apus apus
Note wing shape different from swallows
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Apodidae
Swifts in action

The swift is a bird in the family Apodidae. It is in the order Apodiformes with treeswifts and hummingbirds. The swift is very good at flying. It spends all of its time in the air.

The scientific name for the swift (apus) comes from the Ancient Greek word απους, apous which means "without feet". This is because swifts have very small, weak feet. Swifts use their feet to hold on to vertical places (for example, the wall of a house, or a cliff). Swifts do not want to land on the ground. If they land on ground, they cannot fly up again. Some people say if you see a swift on the ground, you should pick it up and throw it up in the air so it can fly again.

Description[change | change source]

Swifts are small birds. They can fly very well and very fast. Some swifts can fly at 5–14m per second. If a swift needs to fly very fast, it can fly at 60m per second for a short amount of time. When catching insects, they fly in a series of swoops, changing direction rapidly as they pursue the prey.

Swifts have long, curved wings. The wings are in the same of a sickle or boomerang. They have a forked tail. This means it looks like a V shape.

Swifts can be seen all over the world. They like to live in warmer places and they migrate every year. For example, Swifts fly to Europe in the spring and summer. When it gets cold at the start of autumn, the Swifts fly to Africa where it is warmer.

Nests[change | change source]

Swifts make their nests in a corner between two walls. For example, near the roof of a house, or in an area between rocks in a cave. They use mud and saliva (spit) to make a cup-shaped nest.

There are some swifts which only use saliva to make their nests. These swifts are in the genus Aerodramus. In Asia, people take the nests and use them to make bird's nest soup. This soup is very popular in China.