Tuesday 18 June
Pallid swift (Apus pallidus)
Pallid swift fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Pallid swift description
The pallid swift is a small, highly aerial bird with a forked tail and crescent-shaped wings (5). Its name comes from the Latin word ‘apous’ meaning ‘without feet’, which actually refers to its very short legs, and the word ‘pallidus’ meaning ‘pale’ (4) (5), in reference to the greyish buff-brown plumage. The pallid swift has a large light-coloured patch on the throat and a light forehead, and the wings are also lighter than the body and have a dark leading edge (6).
- Martinet pâle.
Pallid swift biology
The pallid swift spends much of its life in the air; it feeds, drinks, mates and even sleeps on the wing. Its diet consists entirely of small insects caught in flight (9). As an adaptation to this lifestyle, it has very short legs that are only used to hold on to vertical surfaces, such as cliff faces (5).Top
Pallid swift rangeTop
Pallid swift habitat
Being mostly aerial, the pallid swift can inhabit a great variety of environments. Populations found in the Mediterranean typically breed on cliffs and other rocky areas (3). Populations elsewhere are also found in marine or coastal areas, as well as grassland, savannah, gardens, and even highly urbanised areas (8).Top
Pallid swift status
Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Pallid swift threats
With a stable global population estimated to be between 250,000 and 2,000,000 individuals, the pallid swift is not currently considered to be threatened (2).Top
Pallid swift conservation
There are no known conservation measures in place for the pallid swift.Top
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
IUCN Red List (March, 2010)
BirdLife International (March, 2010)
- Robinson, R.A. (2005) BirdFacts: Profiles of Birds Occurring in Britain and Ireland. BTO Research Report 407, BTO, Thetford.
- Costa L.T. and Elias G. L. (1998) Biometrics and survival rates of pallid swifts Apus Pallidus in Portugal. Ringing and Migration, 19: 59-64.
- Perrins, C., Attenborough, D. and Arlott, N. (1987) New Generation Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. University of Texas Press, Texas.
- Jonsson, L. (1980) Birds of the Mediterranean and Alps. Croom Helm, London.
- Penloup, A., Martin, J.L., Gory, G., Brunstein, D. and Bretagnolle, V. (1997) Distribution and breeding success of pallid swifts, Apus Pallidus, on Mediterranean Islands: nest predation by the roof rat, Rattus rattus, and nest site quality. Oikos, 80: 78-88.
- Rolando, A., Maffei, G., Pulcher, C. and Giuso, A. (1997) Avian community structure along an urbanization gradient. Italian Journal of Zoology, 64: 341-349.
- Cucco, M., Bryant, D.M. and Malacarne, G. (1993) Differences in the diet of the Common (Apus Apus) and Pallid (A. Pallidus) Swifts. Avocetta, 17: 131-138.
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.