|Species:|| Apus apus|
Common swifts are 16–17 cm long with a wingspan of 38–40 cm and entirely blackish-brown except for a small white or pale grey patch on their chins which is not visible from a distance. They have a short forked tail and very long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang.
The common swift is a gregarious bird, seen in big, noisy flocks while hunting insects. They spend almost all their time in flight (sometimes they even sleep in flight!). Their feet are too weak to be used to walk, but have a powerful grip so they can be used to climb on cliffs or walls.
The common swift feeds only on flying insects.
The swift nests in holes in cliffs or city walls, where about four eggs are layed. Chicks are nidiculous; they are blind and have no down. They can resist three days with no food.
The swift arrives in Europe in April or in May and flies to Africa sooner than swallows and martins: at the end of July. Swifts who depart too late run the risk of starve because of the lack of insects.
The call is a loud, pitched and strident "srriiiiiiii". the call is a good way to distinguish the common swift from the similar pallid swift (the pallid swift's call is a triple note: "srii-srii-srii").