Birda Logo
Features
Birda+
About
Species Guide
Challenges
Shop
loading...
A photo of a Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
Pallid Swift

Pallid Swift

Apus pallidus

The Pallid Swift, Apus pallidus, is a bird of the swift family, Apodidae, known for its remarkable aerial lifestyle. This species is characterized by its relatively short legs, which are used exclusively for clinging to vertical surfaces, as they never voluntarily settle on the ground. The Pallid Swift is a master of the skies, catching insects in flight with its beak and even drinking while on the wing.

Identification Tips

With a body length of 16–17 cm (6.3–6.7 in), the Pallid Swift can be a challenge to distinguish from the Common Swift. However, with keen observation, one can note its chunkier build and browner plumage. The white throat patch is a distinctive feature, often visible from afar. The flight feathers, underparts, and rump are slightly paler, providing more contrast than the Common Swift. Additionally, the belly appears scalier, and the flight action is subtly different. When heard, its call is a loud, dry scream, which may sound more disyllabic compared to its relative.

Habitat

The Pallid Swift breeds on cliffs and under the eaves of buildings in the Mediterranean region, as well as on the Canary Islands and Madeira.

Distribution

This species is predominantly found in its breeding areas, with rare occurrences north of these regions. Due to identification challenges, they may be under-recorded in these northern locales. The Pallid Swift's southerly range means it arrives earlier and departs later than the Common Swift, so swifts observed particularly early or late in the season should be scrutinized for potential identification.

Behaviour

The Pallid Swift is a migratory bird, akin to swallows, spending its winters in southern Africa or southeast Asia. Studies using GPS technology have revealed that Pallid Swifts from Gibraltar exhibit remarkable site fidelity to their African wintering grounds, returning to the same areas year after year. These birds lead an almost exclusively airborne existence outside of the breeding season, rarely coming to land.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the Pallid Swift are similar to those of the Common Swift, characterized by a loud and dry scream. The call may be distinguished by a more disyllabic quality.

Breeding

During the breeding season, Pallid Swifts lay two eggs in their chosen nesting sites on cliffs or building eaves.

Similar Species

The Common Swift is the species most similar to the Pallid Swift, with careful observation required for accurate identification.

Diet and Feeding

Pallid Swifts are insectivorous, capturing their prey in flight. Their diet consists of airborne insects which they adeptly snatch with their beaks during their continuous flight.

Conservation status

The Pallid Swift is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of widespread decline.

Pallid Swift Sounds


Recorded by: © 
App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Pallid Swifts on Birda

Photos
Sightings

More Swifts

Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Carl B
Helped me to identify more birds
Love this app and has helped me to identify more birds. The challenges and badges are great for keeping the motivation going to get out and keep birding.
Pdydhdrexgi
Fantastic App
This is a really lovely app, for everyone interested in birds - from newbies to old hands. There is a very friendly feel to the community and you will genuinely learn a lot as you record your sightings and photos. There are lots of badges and competitions to keep you engaged, and a host of really useful features.
Paul F
Very good database
Highly recommend. It great that this app shows you male Vs female variations when posting. Very good database I'm really impressed.
D3Nature
Great app for learning Birds
I’ve been using the app for a couple of months and love it....Someone said it’s like a real life Pokémon Go for birds. They’re not far off! It’s something that the family can do that gets you out and about. Well worth downloading no matter your age.
Jane N
A great app
Enjoying it immensely and finding it useful too. Recording the different birds and counting them is showing me how the present climate is affecting them all. I've trebled the numbers by planting native hedging. A great app.
Chudbond
Love Birda
I love this app. It really encourages you to log your sightings and the community is friendly and helpful.
JCBirding
Just what birding needs
We need more fun in birding, for years it has had a reputation for being up tight and stuffy and only perused by retirees and anoraks. Birda helps change that perception and firmly brings birding into the 21st century! Fun, interactive while still contributing to science and conservation. If you aren’t on it, why not??
Hip An
Fantastic
Really enjoying Birda where I live i have a lot of Red kites really hard to photograph but I can video are you planning some place on the app where us Birda can post vids🦉🦅
Amylia S
Best app for any birding person!
I love this app!! I am so addicted to it when I saw it had 3 star review I was so sad! The app is awesome!! The best app for any birding person! ❤️
Stewart W
Fantastic to be involved
Fantastic to be involved, great for mental health and gets you responding with the Challenges that are to takd part in.
As featured in
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Giving back
Connect with us
Copyright © 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.