December 25, 2017 – Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)
Breeding in the eastern United States, these swifts winter in northwestern South America. They eat flying insects, including bees, flies, and beetles, which they catch in the air. While they previously nested in caves and hollow trees, they now nest mostly in chimneys and other structures built by humans. Pairs build small, half-saucer nests from twigs cemented to a wall with their saliva. Helpers sometimes assist breeding pairs at the nest. Classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN, they have suffered moderately fast population declines since the 1960s as brick chimneys and other nesting sites have become less common in their range.
October 25, 2015 – White-throated Swift (Aeronautes saxatalis)
These swifts are found in the western United States and much of Central America. They feed on flying insects, such as wasps, beetles, and winged ants, which they catch in the air. Their nests are small cups made of a felt-like substance created from a variety of materials, including feathers and grasses, held together by saliva. The nests are usually located on high cliffs, but sometimes will be attached to the sides of buildings and other human-made structures. Little is known about their breeding and chick rearing because of the inaccessibility of their nesting sites, though both parents are thought to incubate the eggs and care for the chicks.
April 23, 2015 – Common Swift (Apus apus)
Requested by: derbytup
These swifts are found across most of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Their diet consists entirely of insects they catch in the air. Apart from nesting, Common Swifts spend most of their time flying. They catch food, skim water sources to drink, and even sleep in flight, spending more of their life in the air than almost any other bird. Common Swifts build nests from feathers and plant materials held together by saliva. Pairs stay together for several years and return to the same nesting colony each May. Despite their similar appearance to swallows and martins, swifts are not closely related to these species. The similarities are due to convergent evolution.
August 11, 2014 – Alpine Swift (Tachymarptis melba)
These amazing birds can stay in the air for 200 days at a time. Their diet is strictly small insects that they catch in flight. They migrate between southern Europe and Africa and breed in colonies, gluing feathers and plant material together with their saliva to build cup-shaped nests.
Here’s the study that found they can fly for 200 days: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2013/131008/ncomms3554/full/ncomms3554.html
I want to thank everyone again for their support of this project. It’s pretty great to have made it to 200 birds!
May 17, 2014 – Whiskered Treeswift (Hemiprocne comata)
Requested by: serotina (requested any swifts)
Found in forests of Southeast Asia, Whiskered Treeswifts are closely related to true swifts. Unlike true swifts, treeswifts are able to perch on branches. Although they look similar, all swifts are only distantly related to swallows. They are in the order Apodiformes, which also includes hummingbirds. These birds build their nests at the end of thin branches to avoid predation by snakes. Their diet is mostly insects, which they often catch in flight.