Gallery - Swifts, Swallows and Martins
BTO ID video to help spot the difference
Swifts are masters of the air and are usually seen in flocks. wheeling high in the sky at great speed.They may spend weeks in the air without coming down as they catch flying insects for food and can sleep in flight.
Swifts spend more time in flight than most birds catching insects, drinking and even sleeping on the wing. If they do land they have problems getting airborne again. The birds migrate to Africa to spend the winter
Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)
Swallows and Martins fly very fast, often near the ground, twisting and turning in the air as they chase insects. Unlike Swifts which cannot perch, flocks of Swallows and Martins often perch on telegraph wires, especially when they are about to migrate.
The House Martin is a amber list species-medium conservation concern.
Most house martins have abandoned nesting on cliffs and build their cup shaped nests of mud under the eves of houses in towns and villages.It eats insects which it catches in flight.
The Sand Martin is a Amber list species-medium conservation concern.
A summer visitor to much of europe, returns in early spring to feed on insects which catches in flight often over water.It nests in burrows which it digs for itself in river banks and sandy cliffs.
The swallow has been classified as a Amber list species-medium conservation concern.
This summer migrant arrives each spril from Africa.They are often seen perched on wires or swooping low over meadows,pastures and open water as they feed on flying insects. They avoid woodlands and towns. The saucer shaped mud nest is built under cover in a barn or simlar building.
© Simon Thurgood 2017
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