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Common Swifts are 16-17 cm long and entirely blackish-brown except for a small white or pale grey patch on their chins which is not visible from a distance. They have a short forked tail and very long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang.
 Similar species
Pallid Swift (see references)
By far the commonest swift of much of its range. Breeds from the Mediterranean north to northern Scotland, central Norway and the Kola Peninsula. Breeds across North-West Africa and in scattered localities in the Middle East. Has bred on Malta and recently discovered breeding in the Canary Islands. To the east range extends across Asia to northern China.
A summer visitor throughout range , wintering in sub-Saharan Africa and India. Autumn passage is mainly late July-September, rarely until late October, even November. Return movement reaches southern Europe in late March, further north in late April-May.
There are 2 subspecies
Feeds chiefly over open country and often over water, commonly in urban areas, in lowlands or mountains.
Swifts spend most of their lives in the air, living on the insects they catch in their beaks. They drink and even sleep on the wing.
Monogomous. They build their nests mainly in holes in buildings, but also crevices in cliffs and caves. They return to the same nest every year.
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