Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Fork-tailed swift

Apus pacificus

(Photo from Bird Forum)

Common name:
fork-tailed swift (en); andorinhão-de-cauda-forcada (pt); martinet de Sibérie (fr); vencejo del Pacífico (es); Pazifiksegler (de)

Order Apodiformes
Family Apodidae

This species is found breeding in eastern Asia, from Siberia to Kamchatka and Japan , across eastern China to Annam ,Vietnam ,Thailand and Burma. They migrate south to winter in southern India, Indonesia and Australia.

The fork-tailed swift is 18-21 cm long and has a wingspan of 40-42 cm. They weigh 30-40 g.

This species is almost exclusively aerial, only landing to nest. They can be found over a wide range of habitats, from coastal areas to boreal forests, plains, low scrubs, heathlands and saltmarshes. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 4000 m and generally nest on mountain cliffs or island rock caves.

These birds are strictly insectivorous, eating small bees, wasps, termites and moths which are caught on the wing.

Fork-tailed swifts breed in March-August. The nest is made of grass, moss, and leaves, glued together with sticky saliva, and is usually built on a cliff ridge or under a roof crevice. There the female lays 1-3 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 16-22 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 40-41 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be generally common throughout most of its breeding range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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