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Little Swift - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by xentox
Lofa County, Liberia, 2005
Apus affinis


Notice white rump wrapping down onto flanks
Photo © by Paco Chiclana
coast of Cádiz, Spain, July 2011

12 cm (4¾ in): wingspan 33cm

  • Black plumage
  • White throat
  • White rump wrapping down onto flanks
  • Short square tail


Africa and Asia
In Africa south of the Sahara, locally also Northern Africa. In the Middle East in Israel and Turkey. From there east to Iran, Pakistan and India.
Common in sub-Saharan Africa and India.

Local and scarce in the rest of its range. Not globally threatened.

Also occurs on European side of the Gibraltar Strait per BF members observations.

Northernmost populations migratory in for example Middle East.


Forms a superspecies with House Swift Apus nipalensis and is often considered conspecific. Sometimes also called House Swift (and the House Swift is sometimes called Little Swift) so confusion is easily possible.


Six subspecies recognized [1]:


Aerial; nests on cliffs, buildings and bridges.



The 1-4 eggs are laid in nests built in colonies on cliffs, buildings and bridges.


Diet includes insects caught in flight.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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