Swallows, Swifts

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32 records

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Antillean Palm-Swift

Total Photos: 0

Ashy Woodswallow

Total Photos: 1

It has a short curve bill and a short square tail and long wings. It is usually seen perched in groups, high on powerlines, tall bare trees and most often in areas with a predominance of tall palm trees.

This stocky woodswallow has an ashy grey upperparts with a darker head and a narrow pale band on the rump. The underside is pinkish grey and the short slaty black tail is tipped in white. The finch-like bill is silvery. In flight the long wing looks very broad at the base giving it a very triangular outline. The first primary is very short. The legs are short and the birds usually perch on high vantage points from which they make aerial sallies.

Males and females are indistinguishable in the field, however an old report suggests that the sexes differ in the colour of the inside of the mouth. Young birds appear barred on the underside.

Asian Palm Swift

Total Photos: 2

The Asian Palm Swift is a small swift. It is a common resident breeder in tropical Asia from India to the Philippines. The down and feather nest is glued to the underside of a palm leaf with saliva, which is also used to secure the usually two or three eggs. This is a bird of open country and cultivation.

This 13 cm long species is mainly pale brown in color. It has long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. The body is slender, and the tail is long and deeply forked, although it is usually held closed.

Sexes are similar, and young birds differ mainly their shorter tails. Asian Palm Swift has very short legs which it uses only for clinging to vertical surfaces, since swifts never settle voluntarily on the ground.

These swifts spend most of their lives in the air, living on the insects they catch in their beaks. Asian Palm Swifts often feed near the ground, and they drink on the wing.

Band-rumped Swift

Total Photos: 0

Barn Swallow

Total Photos: 2

The Barn Swallow is the most widespread species of swallow in the world. A distinctive passerine bird with blue upperparts, a long, deeply forked tail and curved, pointed wings, it is found in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

The Barn Swallow is a bird of open country which normally uses man-made structures to breed and consequently has spread with human expansion. It builds a cup nest from mud pellets in barns or similar structures and feeds on insects caught in flight. This species lives in close association with humans, and its insect-eating habits mean that it is tolerated by man; this acceptance was reinforced in the past by superstitions regarding the bird and its nest.

Black Swift

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Chapman's Swift

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Chestnut-collared Swift

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Chimney Swift

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Costa Rican Swift

Total Photos: 0

Crested Treeswift

Total Photos: 2

The crested treeswift is a large slender bird at 23 cm (9 in) length. This species is dove grey above and white below. The long swept-back wings are a darker grey above. This treeswift has a crest and a long, deeply forked tail. The adult male has orange sides to its face. Young birds have a dark grey head and wings, but the rest of the soft plumage is much streakier than that of the adults. The call of this species is a harsh kee-kyew.

Dusky Crag Martin

Total Photos: 4

The Dusky Crag Martin is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It is 13cm long with a broad body and wings, and a short square tail that has small white patches near the tips of most of its feathers. This martin has sooty-brown upperparts and slightly paler underparts. The two subspecies are resident breeding birds in South Asia from the Indian subcontinent to southwestern China and the northern parts of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.

This martin nests under a cliff overhang or on a man-made structure, building a neat half-cup mud nest with a soft lining. Both adults incubate the two to four eggs and feed the chicks. This species does not form large breeding colonies, but it is more gregarious outside the breeding season. It feeds an a wide variety of insects that are caught as the martin flies near to cliff faces. It may be hunted by large bats as well as birds of prey, but its extensive and expanding range and large population mean that there are no significant conservation concerns.

Gray-rumped Swift

Total Photos: 0

Great Swallow-tailed Swift

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House Swift

Total Photos: 5

The House Swift, is a small bird, superficially similar to a Barn Swallow or House Martin. It is, however, completely unrelated to those passerine species. The resemblances between the groups are due to convergent evolution reflecting similar life styles.

These birds have very short legs which they use only for clinging to vertical surfaces. House Swifts breed around habitation and cliffs from Africa eastwards through southern tropical Asia to western Indonesia. Unlike the more northerly Common Swift, many birds are resident, but some populations are migratory, and winter further south than their breeding areas. They wander widely on migration, and are seen as rare vagrants in much of Europe and Asia.

House Swifts build their nests in hole in buildings or sometimes on cliffs, laying 1-4 eggs. A swift will return to the same site year after year, rebuilding its nest when necessary.

House Swifts spend most of their lives in the air, living on the insects they catch in their beaks. They drink on the wing, but roost on vertical cliffs or walls. They are notoriously slow risers in the mornings.

House Swifts are readily identified by their small size. Their wingspan is 33 cm compared to the 42 cm of Common Swift. They are black except for a white rump, the white extending on to the flanks. They have a short square tail. The flight is fluttering like a House Martin.

Lesser Antillean Swift

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Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift

Total Photos: 0

Little Swift

Total Photos: 1

The Little Swift, is a small bird, superficially similar to a Barn Swallow or House Martin. It is, however, completely unrelated to those passerine species. The resemblances between the groups are due to convergent evolution reflecting similar life styles.

Mariana Swiftlet

Total Photos: 0

Pacific Swallow

Total Photos: 3

Purple Martin

Total Photos: 6

The Purple Martin is the largest North American swallow. These aerial acrobats have speed and agility in flight, and when approaching their housing, will dive from the sky at great speeds with their wings tucked.

Purple Martins are a kind of swallow but are larger than other swallows. The average length from bill to tail is 20 cm. Adults have a slightly forked tail. Adult males are entirely black with glossy steel blue sheen, the only swallow in North America with such coloration. Adult females are dark on top with some steel blue sheen, and lighter underparts. Subadult females look similar to adult females minus the steel blue sheen and browner on the back. Subadult males look very much like females, but solid black feathers emerge on their chest in a blotchy, random pattern as they molt to their adult plumage.

Red-rumped Swallow

Total Photos: 3

The Red-rumped Swallow is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It breeds in open hilly country of temperate southern Europe and Asia from Portugal and Spain to Japan, India and tropical Africa. The Indian and African birds are resident, but European and other Asian birds are migratory. They winter in Africa or India and are vagrants to Christmas Island and northern Australia.

Red-rumped Swallows are somewhat similar in habits and appearance to the other aerial insectivores, such as the related swallows and the unrelated swifts. They have blue upperparts and dusky underparts.

They resemble Barn Swallows, but are darker below and have pale or reddish rumps, face and neck collar. They lack a breast band, but have black undertails. They are fast fliers and they swoop on insects while airborne. They have broad but pointed wings.

Red-rumped Swallows build quarter-sphere nests with a tunnel entrance lined with mud collected in their beaks, and lay 3 to 6 eggs. They normally nest under cliff overhangs in their mountain homes, but will readily adapt to buildings such as mosques and bridges.

They do not normally form large breeding colonies, but are gregarious outside the breeding season. Many hundreds can be seen at a time on the plains of India.

Short-tailed Swift

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Sick's Swift

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Spot-fronted Swift

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Vaux's Swift

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White-chinned Swift

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White-collared Swift

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White-fronted Swift

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White-naped Swift

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White-throated Swift

Total Photos: 0

Wire-tailed Swallow

Total Photos: 4

The Wire-tailed Swallow is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It breeds in Africa south of the Sahara and in tropical southern Asia from the Indian subcontinent east to southeast Asia. It is mainly resident, but populations in Pakistan and northern India migrate further south in winter.

This bird is found in open country near water and human habitation. Wire-tailed Swallows are fast flyers and they generally feed on insects, especially flies, while airborne. They are typically seen low over water, with which they are more closely associated than most swallows.

The neat half-bowl nests are lined with mud collected in the swallows' beaks. They are placed on vertical surfaces near water under cliff ledges or more commonly on man-made structures such as buildings and bridges.

The clutch is up to five eggs. These birds are solitary and territorial nesters, unlike many swallows, which tend to be colonial.

This striking species is a small swallow at 15 cm in length. It has bright blue upperparts, except for a chestnut crown and white spots on the tail. The underparts are white, with darker flight feathers. There is a blue mask through the eye.

Male and female are appearances, but the female has shorter wires. Juveniles have a brown crown, back and tail.