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Common name Common swift
Scientific name Apus apus
Type Urban birds
Status Summer

Small bird (about 17 cm or 6.5 in) similar to swallows, with an incredible ability to fly. Bow-shaped silhouette, with short and forked tail and long, thin and pointed wings. Short, flat bill that leads to a very wide mouth. Very short legs with feathered tarsi and barely functional. Small feet, with four very small toes with strong claws, directed forward. This bird cannot perch on the ground. Dark brown plumage with a small lighter spot on the throat. It is usually observed in flight and grouped.


Urban and rocky environments

Where it lives

Open spaces, from sea level to high mountain. Indifferent to the type of habitat whenever there are flying insects to hunt and holes in which to nest. Preference for the urban environment.

How it lives

The Common Swift is present in Malaga only during the breeding period. This species spends the winter south of the Sahara. It only stops flying to nest and uses holes in roofs and human constructions to install the breeding site. An annual laying in May of 2 to 3 eggs. Nests in colonies. Very loyal to its breeding sites. It feeds on small flying insects exclusively, sweeping the air flying with its mouth open and catching insects on the fly.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Frequent and usual species in the province. It can be watched throughout the Great Path.

Curious facts

Swifts are the ultimate expression of adaptation to life in flight. Except when they have the nest, they never alight. They can barely walk and never use the ground. The nests are in elevated holes that allow them to fly in and out. They sleep in flight. It is estimated that they travel more than six hundred miles a day flying. Their noise and their risky flights in group form part of the usual sound landscape of the summer in Malaga.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration