Status: Common summer visitor throughout Ireland from May to early September.
Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland due to a decline in the breeding population. The European population is currently evaluated as Secure.
Identification: About the same size as a Swallow, but all dark. Spends virtually all of its life airborne and never seen resting on wires, as Swallows and Martins frequently do. The weak and small feet of a Swift only allow it to cling to vertical surfaces or shuffle akwardly on the ground (at the nest). In flight, has a distinctive shape with scythe shaped wings held straight out from the body. One of the fastest flying birds in Ireland.
Similar Species: Swallow and House Martin.
Call: Most frequently heard is a high-pitched scream "srrrriii". Often given by pairs in high speed chases.
Diet: Feeds exclusively on various invertebrates (midges, flies, spiders) caught in flight.
Breeding: Breeds throughout Ireland, usually in small recesses in buildings, both occupied and derelict. Less frequently in holes in trees or caves in uplands or coastal areas.
Wintering: Winters in tropical Africa. Migrants arrive from the end of April onwards and most will have departed by mid-August. A few individuals can usually be seen up until the start of September.
Where to See: Urban areas throughout Ireland.
Monitored by: Countryside Bird Survey.