( Latin: Apus apus)

Swifts originally nested in hilly country, but they are now much associated with buildings, such as churches, silos and factories, where they build high• up in sheltered, inaccessible places.

They arrive in Britain in late April and May and start to collect nest material. This takes place in the air, where they snap up scraps of dry grass, paper, feathers and anything else that is blowing around.

A pair remains together year after year, often using the same nest, which gradually accumulates a mass of material. Perhaps no other European bird spends quite so much time in the air, where it feeds exclusively, of course, on insects taken on the wing.