includes 378 species. All these species are part of two suborders: swifts and hummingbirds. A squad of swifts consists of two families – swifts and crested swifts.

Swifts in flight can reach speeds of up to three hundred kilometers per hour. On the ground, they are more helpless, can only cling to sharp claws for a vertical rock or to sit on a branch of a tree or a bush. Head flattened. The beak is short.

A significant part of the Swift family is painted modestly – the plumage is dominated by gray and black tones. The distribution area of ​​swifts is quite large and covers all continents, with the exception of Antarctica, and for some species a “habit” is associated with a person.

Swifts equip their nests in caves, crevices of rocks, hollows. Sometimes you can see a nest of swiftness on especially large leaves of trees.

The appearance of swifts has some similarities with the appearance of swallows. That’s why these birds are sometimes confused. One of the distinguishing features of swifts is that they fly quite loudly in flight, which can not be said about swallows.

Species of the family of crested swifts have a characteristic crest on their head (hence the name). In addition, they are characterized by the presence of a long foredail. By the difference in color between male and female, one can judge about such phenomenon as sexual dimorphism.

Crested swifts, arrange their nests in the trees. In this regard, they are often called wood swifts. The family of crested swifts includes four species that combine into one genus.

Swifts are small birds.

Relatively. The length of their body reaches thirty-three centimeters, and weight – one hundred and twenty grams.

Swifts are born fliers.

Swifts have long strong wings. The wings are crescent shaped. Thus the swifts of swifts are maximally well adapted to a fast manoeuvrable flight. At the same time, some species of these birds are capable of speeding up to three hundred kilometers per hour. On the fly Swifts are able and drink, and feed, and some – even to sleep! But although the Swifts fly perfectly, on the earth’s surface they are quite helpless. In many respects this is due to the fact that swifts have weak and small legs. The eyes of many swifts from the front and the upper sides are covered with short dense feathers. These peculiar “eyelashes” are designed to provide shearing protection from collisions with insects when he flies at high speed.

Some types of swifts are truly amazing nests.

These are tropical species of these birds. For example, the Cayenne swift, which inhabits the territories of Central and South America. The nest of this bird is like a vertical pipe. The length of this “structure” reaches sixty-five centimeters. Cayenne swifts with the help of saliva glue together the leaves and thin grass. The resulting structure (again saliva) is attached either to rocky protrusions, or to thick branches of trees. At the bottom of this pipe is the entrance to the nest. Inside there is a small platform serving as a place for laying eggs. The last of the Cayenne swift includes three eggs. No less interesting is the nest that builds a palm swift. This bird is common in South Asia and Africa. The nest of this swift is a flat cushion, consisting of feathers and down. The resulting structure is attached with a swift to the underside of the palm leaf. It is interesting that it is necessary to glue not only the nest, but also eggs to it. The newly born chicks hold on to a small shelter independently with the help of their claws.

Swallow’s nest is a dish of Chinese cuisine.

And very famous. This is actually a specifically prepared nest. Only there is one nuance – it does not belong to the swallow, but to the swift. The gray salangan, inhabiting Polynesia and Southeast Asia (and these birds form large colonies), builds an edible house from saliva. The nest is attached to the wall of the cave.

The gray salangana is the inhabitant of caves.

Birds live in large dark caves in whole colonies, but darkness does not prevent swifts from moving steadily. In this, the ability of the gray salangan to echolocation (like bats) is of great importance.

Swifts have few enemies.

Relatively it is so, and concerns all species of these birds. The main enemy of Swifts is the Cheglock. The remaining predatory birds are very difficult to catch swifts, because it not only flies quickly, but never sets itself on the earth’s surface. During the seasonal migration of swifts, other types of falcons may be threatened. Dangers for chicks are sometimes represented by sony and some other climbing rodents. Such a danger is more justified if the Swifts settle their nest in tree hollows or nest boxes. Sometimes the enemy of the swift is a man. The situation is similar, for example, in southern Europe. It is believed that the meat of young swifts has excellent taste qualities. That’s why residents often place themselves for nesting swifts themselves. This is done in such a way as to have access to the nest from the inside. As such nesting sites are the walls and high towers. Residents are waiting for the moment when the chicks will be ready to fly out of the nest, and shortly before they pull them out from there, after which they consume the chicks’ meat for food.

Black swift is a small bird belonging to the Swifts genus.

The body length of this bird reaches eighteen centimeters, and the wingspan is forty centimeters. The length of the wing of a black swift (he’s an ordinary swift) is on average equal to eighteen centimeters, and the tail to eight centimeters. In Russia, the black swift is very common. True, from a distance this bird is quite easy to confuse with a swallow. The color of the plumage of a black swift has a dark brown color. For feathering is characteristic of a metallic ebb of a greenish shade. On the throat and chin of individuals there is a white spot. Black swifts have dark brown eyes and a black beak. The female and the male of the black swift have a completely identical tail color. Small differences are found only in chicks and adults – the chicks are somewhat lighter.

Black swift is a migratory bird.

It nests in northern and central Asia, as well as in central Europe. On the territory of Russia it can be found from the western borders of the country to Transbaikalia in the east. She lives in towns and cities. Sometimes he builds nests in tall forests. For nesting black swifts use a variety of high buildings and structures. In parks and forests, tall trees are used accordingly. The nest is built directly in the crevices of stone buildings, under roofs, cornices. Sometimes the nest of a black swift can be found behind the window frames. For wintering, the black swift goes either to South India or to Africa. Departure is in August.

Building materials for the nest of the swift catches on the fly.

Thus, for the construction of swifts, it uses those light “handy” materials that wind up in the air. These can be threads, lumps of vegetable fluff, hair, small leaves, straws, pieces of wool, etc. – all this the bird collects into a small flat pile. Next swifts glue the collected materials with the help of viscous saliva. The resulting nest has low sides, and the trays are hardly noticeable at all. The role of the litter is carried out by feathers, which can be either single or in a more substantial amount. The diameter of the newly constructed black swift nest varies from eight to nine centimeters, and the height is only one centimeter. The diameter of the tray is on average five centimeters, and its depth is one centimeter. At the same time, for older nests, which were repeatedly adjusted with swifts, larger sizes are characteristic. In this case, the diameter of the nest can be fifteen centimeters, the height – three centimeters. The diameter of the tray in the old nest is already eight, and the depth is two centimeters.

The number of eggs in the laying of black swifts ranges from two to four pieces.

They have a white monophonic color. The average size of eggs is 25x 17 millimeters. Egg laying takes place in the first half of June, while Black Swift arrives at the nesting sites in the middle of May. Helpless and naked chicks are born by the end of June and spend about thirty-five days in the nest. Female and male feed their offspring with small lumps of small insects. In each arrival to the nestlings, parents bring in a few hundred pieces of such lumps. Within one day, ordinary Swifts feed the chicks up to thirty times. The chicks leave the nest at the age of five to eight weeks, they immediately begin to fly. At first, the female and male continue to feed their offspring, doing this directly on the fly. All the same parents thrust in the wide open mouths of their chicks lumps with insects, only do it in flight. After a while (this happens in August), young chicks are able to self-feeding.

An ordinary swift spends most of the time in the air.

For hours the black swift can fly in search of food. In this case, this bird with various insects fills the mouth to failure. By the way, among the insects caught by the swift, often there are many harmful ones, thus the swift brings great benefit. Within a day, each swift can fly a distance of four hundred and fifty to nine hundred kilometers (and even more). With great speed, they dissect the air, then headlong (with absolute accuracy) fly into their nest. In principle, flying swifts are not difficult to distinguish from swallows. In this case, the low-tailed contour of the tail and the sickle-shaped shape of the wings are characteristic for the swifts. Swifts never land on the bare ground and on the grass. Moreover, these birds rarely descend to the level of the tops of trees. If the swift, for various reasons, still finds itself on the earth’s surface, then it becomes absolutely helpless. Swift can not fly off the surface of the soil.

Rainy weather deprives Swifts of food resources.

This is due to the fact that in this weather, insects are lost in the air. Of this difficult situation, there is still a way out. As for the chicks, they fall into a stupor. In this state, they do not need power. As for adult birds, they fly to places with more favorable weather for fifty to seventy kilometers from the nests. Here they hunt until the end of bad weather.

Black swift is a bird-record holder.

These birds include several specific records among all other birds. For example, a black swift can be in the air for two or three years absolutely without any interruption. And during this time birds can not eat anything, and accordingly, do not drink or mate. In this case, the black swifts can cover a distance of up to five hundred thousand kilometers without landing on the surface. In addition, representatives of black swifts have the largest horizontal speed of flight. Thus, flying at a speed of one hundred and fifty kilometers per hour for these birds is not at all a limit.

The Mediterranean basin is the center of the distribution area of ​​the white-haired swift.

From this center, the area of ​​spreading swifts extends, on the one hand, to the Atlas and the mountainous countries of Asia Minor, and on the other hand to the shores of Portugal, the Pyrenean and Alpine mountains. To the east, the white-boned swifts settled the territory right up to the northern Himalayas. It is not uncommon for a white-boned swift to settle nests and far enough beyond the boundaries of this vast area of ​​distribution.

White-bellied swift – alpine swift.

This is what this bird is called, and rightly so. However, the white-haired swift never occurs on the territory of the Central European Alps in as large a quantity as, for example, in the south. Most of these swifts inhabit the southern parts of the Alps.Although many places are known on all the high mountains of Switzerland, where the white-haired Swift equips nests. Alpine swift prefers rock, directly adjacent to the sea. Sometimes this bird settles on high buildings. And, having chosen a place on the last, swift with known perseverance again and again returns to it.

In the behavior of blond-haired swift there are similar and different features with the behavior of the black swift.

Habits and habits of blond-haired swift are in general comparable with the habits and habits of ordinary swiftness. however, some aspects of the way of life still differ in these birds. Shortly after arriving at the old nest, a short-haired swift starts building new nests and repairing old ones. Material for the nest (straw, hay, leaves, etc.), these birds are also collected in flight. In addition, the white-haired swifts can collect grass and moss, clinging to rocks and walls. A tool for gluing individual fragments of the future nest with each other in the white-haired swift (as well as in the ordinary one) is always with itself-it is the secretion of the salivary glands, which represent a semi-liquid mass. The nest looks like a shallow cup of round shape. The width of the top is in the range of ten to twelve centimeters, and the height varies from four to six centimeters. The average depth is three centimeters. Visually imagine the dimensions of the nest can help the following: if you imagine that the nest is at the same time and the offspring, and his parents, then the nest ceases to be visible. Beginning of masonry, as a rule, falls on the beginning of June. Often the laying begins even before the construction of the nest itself is completed. In this case, the eggs are laid one after two days until they are filled with three or four pieces. Eggs of blond-haired swift have a faded white color. In part, they are similar to plaster (not only externally, but also to the touch). Interesting is the fact that the shape of the egg can vary – from elongated to very wide oval. The length of the egg is usually in the range of twenty-nine to thirty-three millimeters, and the width is from nineteen to twenty-two millimeters. White-bellied swifts, similarly to the common one, breed chicks only once a year.

White-haired swift is a bird that is widespread in the territory of East Asia.

White-swift swifts are similar to the size of a black swift. However, white-haired swift is very easy to learn, first of all, by the presence of a white sash in the region of the nadir. In the south, the range of its distribution reaches the northern regions of the Mongolian People’s Republic. In the east, the white-haired Swift inhabits the territory right up to Kamchatka and the Japanese islands. The Himalayas also become a nesting place for this bird. White-haired swift nests either in those mountains where there are human settlements, or in the cultural landscape, and the nests themselves are placed in tall buildings. As a building material, white-haired swift uses straws, plant stems, etc. Masonry contains two or three eggs.

White-haired swift is a migratory bird.

For wintering, these swifts are sent to Australia, Indochina or the islands of Indonesia. By the way, it is on the wintering grounds of white-swift swifts that moulting takes place.

Palm Swift got its name due to the place where it arranges a nest.

A suits his swiftness (as the name implies) exclusively on palm leaves (most often it is the leaves of a coconut palm). And on the inside (that is, the bottom) side. The paltry swift is of small size. So, the length of his body barely reaches ten centimeters. The number of these birds is greatest in the territories of the tropical zone of the eastern hemisphere. This is South Asia and Africa. To the nest, palm swifts glue one or two eggs. Of which a little later hatch completely naked and helpless chicks. They are firmly attached to the nest. In doing so, they are facing up and chest to the sheets.In such a situation, the chicks are until they fully fledge (in principle, this process takes place fairly quickly). Due to the fact that the man has significantly expanded the area of ​​the coconut palm, he has expanded the distribution area of ​​palm swifts, making him practically his neighbor in many territories. For example, palm swift can be found in Northern Thailand, and in fact here coconut palms grow only as a cultural landscape. Moreover, palm swift can nest on the roofs of those houses that are simply covered with leaves of a coconut palm.

Moustached swift is the largest representative of the Swift family.

The length of his body reaches thirty-three centimeters. This species is common in the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Moluccas Islands, and in New Guinea the moustached swift can live in the mountains at an altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level. The head of a mustachioed swift is decorated with a long mustache (white) and a white eyebrow.

Needle-tailed swift is the largest representative of the Swift family in Russia.

The length of the body of the needle-tailed swift varies from nineteen to twenty-two centimeters, the wingspan is from forty-eight to fifty-five centimeters, and the weight ranges from one hundred to one hundred and seventy-five grams. The length of the wings of this swift reaches twenty-one centimeters, and the mass is one hundred and forty grams. The name of the swift was due to the fact that its tail is directly cut off, and the helmsmen have needle ends. The lower part of the body has a dark color of plumage, and the upper part has a light brown color. Black wings are characterized by a metallic ebb. The needle-tailed swift also features a white tadpole and a white throat. The needle-tailed swifts nest in the wooded mountain areas. Nests settle down in the hollows of trees. Masonry contains three to six eggs. He goes to winter for Australia.

The swiftness of swiftness is distinguished by rapid flight.

The person who observes it can be surprised by the buzzing, the source of which is the sound of the air cut by the swift. The fact is striking, but in certain areas these birds can accelerate to three hundred kilometers per hour.

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