The house swift (Apus nipalensis) is a small bird that belongs to the Apodidae family. These birds are similar in body shape and size to that of the common swift (A. apus) and the little swift (Apus affinis). The house swift is black in color with a white throat, and its plumage is blacker than the A. affinis. These birds are known to be one of the most agile flyers and they lead quite a fascinating aerial life. Often they are confused with hummingbirds. However, hummingbirds and the swift species belong to two different classes but share a common evolutionary link.
House swifts are endemic to Asia and are extensively spotted in India, Nepal, China, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand. They prefer montane forests and woodlands and migrate to Australia, Africa, and parts of North America during their breeding season. Swifts prey on insects and usually dwell on trees. They are seen to display extraordinary stunts during flight, which includes hunting, sleeping, and even breeding. An interesting fact about these swifts is that they are capable of falling asleep for about 10 seconds while in flight.
The house swift (Apus nipalensis) is a bird of the Apodidae family, which shares a huge similarity in appearance with the bank swallow.
The house swift belongs to the class Aves, just like pigeons.
This species of birds has an enormous population, which is somewhere around 95-165 million in the world. The house swift (Apus nipalensis) has about four subspecies.
The house swift bird is endemic to Asia and extensively inhabits India, China, Nepal, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Thailand. Swifts are also seen to migrate to parts of Australia, America, and Africa during their breeding season.
This species of swifts reside in montane forests and woodlands. They are also spotted in agricultural lands with dense vegetation, parks, and gardens. These birds prefer vast open areas, enabling them to prey on insects. During breeding, swifts are spotted to fly in terraces and near chimneys where they build the nest for their chicks.
The house swift is colonial in nature and is also seen with their partners in flight. They spend time incubating their eggs or with their young ones in the nest.
The house swift (Apus nipalensis) is a bird that possesses a great lifespan that can range as long as 21 years. Because of such long life, this swift species lays only about two to five eggs per breeding season.
The female swift reproduces by laying two to five eggs during their breeding season that typically takes place from February to early October. These birds maintain an angular position between the wall and the roof of buildings while making their nest. They build their nest with feathers, rags, and vegetable skin, all of which are agglutinated with their saliva. Swifts also use old nests of northern rough-winged swallow and red rump swallow birds found in the buildings. The incubation period of house swifts lasts for about 18-26 days and both parents protect and take care of their chicks.
The IUCN Red List has listed the house swift (Apus nipalensis) as a species of Least Concern. Although their population trend is stable and increasing remarkably, loss of habitat due to deforestation and deteriorating environmental conditions can impose a significant threat to this species of birds.
The house swift (Apus nipalensis) bears a small-sized body with a perceptible forked tail. Their wings are large and they have small feet. The tail is longer in size than its other species and has dark black plumage with prominent white rump stripes. The throat is in stark contrast to its body color and appears to be pale white, which makes it look fascinating.
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The house swift is quite cute because of its small body size and remarkably forked tail with white stripes. Although they are not as colorful as other bird species, the exquisite aerial displays and the small beady eyes of these swifts definitely make them adorable.
Swifts communicate with their nasal calls, which appear to be quite loud when they gather in flocks. These twitterings are high-pitched and are used to call other swift birds to come along during their breeding season.
House swifts are about 5.5-5.9 in (14-15 cm) and they are bigger than hummingbirds.
The house swift (Apus nipalensis) is an agile flyer with a speed of more than 68.3 mph (110 kph). The high speed of these birds is attributed to their small body size and broad wings. Due to this amazing adaptation, swift birds are able to showcase a variety of aerial acts. They are capable to breed as well as sleep when they are flying in the air, providing wonderful sightings.
The house swift (Apus nipalensis) weighs only about 0.64-1.28 oz (18.1-36.2 g), which is same as little swift birds.
There are no specific names given to the male and female house swift bird.
A baby house swift is called a chick.
The house swift (Apus nipalensis) preys on a variety of insects on the ground as well as on trees.
The house swift is not a dangerous bird and does not impose any threat on humans.
This bird is migratory in nature, just like the little swift. House swifts spend large durations spreading their wings and flying in the air. This bird is highly active and is always in search of food and water, even when they are in the air. They also build their nest on trees and near buildings. Therefore, this bird cannot survive in captivity and would not make a good pet.
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Baby swifts have a unique ability of being able to survive without food for 48 hours. They enter into a semi-hibernation mode by decreasing their metabolic rate and body temperature.
The house swift bird is able to sleep in the air on their wing. They adapted this feature due to their prolonged journeys from one part of the world to the other. While they are flying, they do not touch their feet on the ground.
They can fly about 10,000 ft (3048 m) in a day.
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Second image by AlexeySokolov1971.