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: Vagrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

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Past records in our database:

Showing only accepted records. Note that records currently under review are also not displayed, and the list may not be a full list of records of this species in Singapore. For more details, check the database here.

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Common Swift Apus apus
Average number of individuals by week based on Singapore Bird Database data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023 (all records)
Peak weeks Oct 08-Oct 14, Oct 22-Oct 28, Nov 05-Nov 11
Early date 09 Oct 2020
Late date 10 Nov 2022
Both of this species's records in Singapore were in Oct 2020. It lacks the white rump of the similar and much more common Pacific Swift.


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.

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