Apus apus

Swifts are sometimes mistaken for the smaller Swallow or even House Martin. They are, indeed, similar in shape in flight, being rather streamline and with a forked tail. However, Swifts are altogether stockier with longer, sickle-shaped wings.

They are summer visitors, arriving in Britain in May to breed and departing again for their African wintering grounds in August. They are one of our shortest staying summer visitors!

Swifts are generally found nesting in holes and cavities in the roofs of older buildings in large villages, towns and cities. Their numbers have declined by over 25% in the past decade due lack of nesting sites as older buildings are either renovated or knocked down.

For more information about Swifts, see the BTO’s BirdFacts and Wider Countryside Report.

  • Medium nest box with oval-shaped hole
  • Nest height: as high as possible on buildings with a clear drop below entrance
  • The nest is a cup of plant material cemented with saliva
  • Egg laying starts between mid-May to early July
  • 2 to 3 eggs. Dull white
  • Incubation time: 19-25 days
  • Nestlings fledge between 37-56 days, depending on weather