Hirundo apus Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden. Two subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Eurasian, European, northern swift; French: Martinet noir; German: Mauersegler; Spanish: Vencejo Comъn.
6.1–6.5 in (16–17 cm); 1.3–1.9 oz (36–52 g). Juvenile similar to adult; sexes alike. Overall black-brown plumage with small, offwhite throat patch.
Western Europe to eastern Asia and from northern Scandanavia and northern Siberia to North Africa, Himalayas, and central China; winter in southern Africa. Accidental in Spitzbergen, Iceland, Bermuda, and Seychelles.
Occurs in all but driest parts of extensive breeding range. Nests in woodpecker holes, hollow trees, and natural cliffs as well as buildings and other manmade structures.
Regularly makes dashing flights accompanied by its drawn-out rattling screams. During prolonged cold weather, adults may temporarily abandon the chicks and make lengthy flights to warmer, food-rich areas. Annual molt is usually delayed until they are on the wintering grounds.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Aerial insects and spiders taken on the wing.
Lay from one to four eggs, most commonly two, and incubation takes about 19–20 days; fledging takes an additional 27–45 days. Nesting success varies from 58% to 65%.
Most populations seem to be healthy and not in need of particular conservation efforts.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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