Andorinhão-preto © Diogo Oliveira

Common Swift

Apus apus

The Common Swift is a unique insectivore bird that, like the swallows, catches their prey in flight, feeding on the so called “aerial plankton”. It is a migratory breeding bird observed from March to October, the month in which the last birds migrate to Africa, where they stay during the cold season.

Its scientific name – Apus apus – refers to the morphological similarity with swallows and the fact that their feet are quite small giving the idea that “are devoid of feet” (the apous Greek term meaning “without feet”).

The common swifts spend most of their lives in flight. And their morphology illustrates the adaptation to life in the air.

Text: João E. Rabaça

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