The swift is a medium-sized aerial bird, which is a superb flier. It even sleeps on the wing - By sleeping with half of its brain at a time, (the same technique as a Dolphin!) the Swift lives on the wing, coming down only for a short period each year to breed.
It is plain sooty brown, and has a characteristic shape, with a short forked tail and very long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. They are superficially similar to swallows but are actually not closely related. They feed on a wide variety of flying insects and spiders caught in flight.
The Swift is a summer visitor, arriving in late April, breeding across the UK, but most numerously in the south and east. It winters in Africa. See our Swift nesting box.
Open country & towns
Status in UK
Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor
Conservation Status UK
Number in Britain
Number of broods
Age at First Breeding
Maximum Recorded Age
17 years, 11 months