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BTO Blueline
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BTO Blueline
Apus apus
Swift © Chris Mead

• Population

• Productivity

• Additional

Conservation listings
Europe: no SPEC category (favourable conservation status in Europe, not concentrated in Europe)
UK: amber (25–50% decline)
Long-term trend
UK: decline
UK population size
85,000 pairs in 1990 (1988–91 Atlas: APEP06); 20,000–100,000 pairs in 2000 (BiE04)
Status summary
Swifts were not monitored before the inception of the BBS. Their monitoring is complicated by the difficulty of finding occupied nests, by the weather-dependent and sometimes extraordinary distances from the nest at which breeding adults may forage, and by the often substantial midsummer influx of non-breeding individuals to the vicinity of breeding colonies. Since Swifts do not normally begin breeding until they are four years old, non-breeding numbers can be large. BBS results suggest steep declines in England, Scotland and Wales. Many Swifts seen on BBS visits will not be nesting nearby, however, and the relationship between BBS transect counts and nesting numbers is not properly understood so far. On the strength of the BBS decline, Swift has recently been moved from the green to the amber list of conservation concern (Eaton et al. 2009). Concern for Swifts, a small private organisation, is trying to promote the deliberate provision of nesting sites for this species, as so many suitable cavities are being lost to redevelopment. It is also gathering information on populations to try to clarify the breeding status of the species. A moderate decrease has been recorded in the Republic of Ireland since 1998 (Crowe et al. 2010).
BBS UK graph

1995-2008: -29% (confidence interval -38% to -17%)

Population changes in detail
Demographic trends
Additional information

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This report should be cited as: Baillie, S.R., Marchant, J.H., Leech, D.I., Renwick, A.R., Joys, A.C., Noble, D.G., Barimore, C., Conway, G.J., Downie, I.S., Risely, K. & Robinson, R.A. (2010). Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2010. BTO Research Report No. 565. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

Pages maintained by Iain Downie, Mandy T Andrews and Laura Smith: Last updated 14.10.2010