Alpine Swift

Tachymarptis melba (Linnaeus, 1758) AI ALPSW 7980
Family: Apodiformes > Apodidae

Alpine Swift, I A Ashworth

Much larger than our Swift, and with a pale belly, Alpine Swift is a scarce visitor, but one that is expanding its range northwards in Europe

Irish records peak in March, while British records peak in May, perhaps suggesting that these are birds from different parts of the Alpine Swift's breeding range.

Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Alpine Swift

2k records observations recorded by BTO surveyors
2k records


2k records observations recorded by BTO surveyors
2k records



Alpine Swift identification is often straightforward.

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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.


We have no population estimates for this scarce species.


This species is a rare vagrant and was recorded during Bird Atlas 2007–11 as shown on the map.

Alpine Swift breeding distribution 2008-11
Britain and Ireland Breeding Distribution 2008-2011.
More from the Atlas Mapstore.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of Alpine Swift ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland
Encountered in: Winter (Nov-Feb); Spring (Mar-Apr); Summer (May-Jul); Autumn (Aug-Oct)


Lifecycle and body size information about Alpine Swift, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.


Sample sizes are too small to report Productivity and Nesting statistics for this species.


Sample sizes are too small to report Biometrics for this species.

Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Gobhlan-monaidh
Welsh: Gwennol Ddu'r Alpau
Catalan: ballester comú
Czech: rorýs velký
Danish: Alpesejler
Dutch: Alpengierzwaluw
Estonian: suurpiiritaja e. suur-piirpääsuke
Finnish: alppikiitäjä
French: Martinet à ventre blanc
German: Alpensegler
Hungarian: havasi sarlósfecske
Icelandic: Alpasvölungur
Irish: Gabhlán Alpach
Italian: Rondone maggiore
Latvian: Alpu svire
Lithuanian: baltapilvis alpinis ciurlys
Norwegian: Alpeseiler
Polish: jerzyk alpejski
Portuguese: andorinhão-real
Slovak: dáždovník skalný
Slovenian: planinski hudournik
Spanish: Vencejo real
Swedish: alpseglare

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