Amazing Airborne Lives of Swifts


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 06 March 2019

BIRDS

Amazing Airborne Life

Swifts are Born to Eat and Sleep in the Air,
Lund University, March 5, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Airborne Life
“Using micro-data loggers attached to the birds, the researchers measured movement when the wings flap. The loggers record activity every five minutes, and the bird's location once a month. Using this method, the researchers have been able to ascertain that the birds live for months at a time in the air during the winter months, the period of the year they spend in West Africa after the breeding season in Italy.”

Only Landing to Breed, Glide Sleep
"They land when they breed under a roof tile or in a hole, otherwise they live in the air. They eat insects while they fly, and when they have reached a high altitude and start gliding, they actually sleep for short periods."

Different Breeding, Different Air Times
“The breeding season dictates why pallid swifts cannot fly for as many months in a row as the common swift, i.e. ten months. Pallid swifts lay two clutches in one season, the common swift only one.”

Survival Edge
“Swifts have a high survival rate compared to many other birds. The researchers believe this is due to swifts spending such a large part of their lives in the air, where predators cannot surprise them in the same way as on the ground or in a nest. Also, when airborne they are not affected by parasites in the same way as on the ground.”

 

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