Swifts are amongst the fastest fliers in the animal kingdom, with speeds reaching up to 169km/hr. Compared with typical birds, swiftlet wings have proportionately large wingtip bones. Like their relatives the hummingbirds, and unlike other birds, they are able to rotate their wings from the base, a trait that allows the wing to remain rigid and fully extended deriving power on both upstroke and downstroke.

Habitat and Distribution

Swifts occur on all the continents, though not in the far north or large deserts, and on many oceanic islands.The swifts of temperate regions are strongly migratory and winter in the tropics.


All Swifts eat insects.


The nest of many species is glued to a vertical surface with saliva. The eggs hatch after 19 to 23 days, and the young leave the nest after a further six to eight weeks. Both parents assist in raising the young.