Common Swift

This species is defined as a Review Species . Please submit your records of this species via our record submission page .

Scientific Name: Apus apus

Malay Name: Layang-layang Sabit Erasia

Chinese Name: 普通雨燕

Range: Breeds from Europe to East Asia; winters primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, but some Asian populations appear to be migratory as well.

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: apus, pekinensis.

Local Subspecies: pekinensis

Size: 17 cm

Identification: A mid-size swift with a typical slender appearance; sickle-shaped wings and a forked tail. In most views appears to be all dark blackish-brown, but the throat and forehead are pale whitish.

Similar looking species: Asian Palm Swift, Pacific Swift, House Swift

Habitat: An exclusively aerial species on migration over a variety of open habitats.

Behaviour/Ecology: Feeds on the wing on flying invertebrates.

Local Status: Very rare vagrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016

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Past accepted records in our database:

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):


BirdLife International. (2016). Apus apus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Chantler, P., Boesman, P. F. D., & Kirwan, G. M. (2020). Common Swift (Apus apus), version 1.0. In del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D. A., & de Juana, E. (Eds.), Birds of the World. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.