Common Swift
Apus apus

– near passerine, larger than Barn Swallow, much longer and thinner wings
– diurnal migrant, always airborne thus nocturnal as well
– migrates singly or in small to medium, loose to rather dense flocks


Common Swift Apus a. apus, AD
BIF1076, 12/05/2012, Besh Barmag, Azerbaijan, Michael Heiß
– uni-coloured dark sooty
– compared to Pallid Swift darker with slimmer body and smaller head

BIF701_MPU_I1Q0015_140523_cswift-apus-1_d_leipzig
Common Swift Apus a. apus, AD
BIF0701, 23/05/2014, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze
– white throat patch more prominent but smaller than in Pallid Swift
– wings more pointed


Common Swift Apus a. apus, 1CY
BIF1078, 13/08/2014, Hohen Luckow, Roland Neumann
– underside of 1CY birds scalier than in AD therefore reminiscent of Pallid Swift
– dark underwing coverts more contrasting than in Pallid Swift in 1CY with pale tips


Common Swift Apus a. apus, 1CY
BIF1079, 13/08/2014, Hohen Luckow, Roland Neumann
same as BIF1078
– depending on the light condition the overall colour can vary from warm sooty to colder dark greyish brown (cf. e.g. BIF1077)


Common Swift Apus a. apus, 1CY
BIF2848, 18/08/2018, North Sea offshore, Roland Neumann
– 1CY show pale fringed remiges and greater coverts (less distinct than in 1CY Pallid Swift
– in good light contrast between brown inner wing and darker outer wing visible
– slimmer ‘hips’ than Pallid Swift


Common Swift Apus a. apus, AD
BIF1077, 12/05/2012, Besh Barmag, Azerbaijan, Michael Heiß
– wing tip more pointed than in Pallid Swift

BIF702_MPU_I1Q0021_140523_cswift-apus-1_d_leipzig
Common Swift Apus a. apus, AD
BIF0702, 23/05/2014, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze

BIF703_MPU_I8Z8357_100425_cswift-apus-FL_d_erfurt
Common Swift Apus a. apus, AD
BIF0703, 25/04/2010, Erfurt, Germany, Mathias Putze

BIF704_MPU_MG8090_090514_cswift-apus-1_d_north-sea
Common Swift Apus a. apus, AD
BIF0704, 14/05/2009, North Sea, offshore, Mathias Putze

BIF705_MPU_I1Q8192_140613_cswift-pekinensis-1_mng_choibalsan
Common Swift Apus apus pekinensis
BIF0705, 13/06/2014, Choibalsan, Mongolia, Mathias Putze
– ssp. pekinensis is more similar to Pallid Swift
– white forehead, white throat patch larger, underside more scaly and slightly paler overall than ssp. apus

voice:
– most common a two-syllabled piercing ‘scream’
– the first part is a sustained, fine modulated overslur
– the second part is a phrase of fast similar vertical elements (trill)
– the trill is narrower spaced in males (faster)
– initial, peak and final frequency lower than in Pallid Swift

Common Swift Apus a. apus, AD M F, call in flight
BIF1951, 13/07/2008, Leipzig, Germany, Patrick Franke

comparison species:
Pallid Swift (a) (v)
Pacific Swift (a) (v)
Alpine Swift (v)
White-rumped Swift (v)

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