Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)

Pallid Swift

[order] APODIFORMES | [family] Apodidae | [latin] Apus pallidus | [UK] Pallid Swift | [FR] Martinet pale | [DE] Fahlsegler | [ES] Vencejo palido | [NL] Vale Gierzwaluw


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Apus pallidus EU, AF s Europe, Arabian Peninsula, n AF c, w AF
Apus pallidus brehmorum Madeira and Canary Is., coastal n Africa, s Europe to Turkey
Apus pallidus illyricus nw coast of the Balkan Pen.
Apus pallidus pallidus Mauritania through Egypt and the Middle East to Pakistan

Physical charateristics

Medium-sized brown swift, with pale grey-white forehead, conspicuous white throat, slightly darker saddle on back, paler (greyer or sandier) upper-surface to flight-feathers, and at close range pale margins visible on body, sides of rump, and upper wing-coverts on both adult and juvenile (and giving plumage characteristic rough appearance).

Listen to the sound of Pallid Swift

[audio: Swift.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 42 cm wingspan max.: 46 cm
size min.: 16 cm size max.: 17 cm
incubation min.: 20 days incubation max.: 23 days
fledging min.: 46 days fledging max.: 47 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 4  


Eurasia, Africa : South Europe, Arabian Peninsula, North AF


Southern middle and lower latitudes, largely linked with coastlines and coastal or riparian lowlands of Mediterranean or subtropical climates


First eggs laid from end of march to en of may, depending on lattitude. Second broodd mostly in july.
The nest building sites vary from buildings, especially under eaves, to a cave or cliff crevice. The nest is a shallow cup of straw, grass, and feathers, cemented together with saliva. Clutch size is 2-3 with a range of 1 to 4. Incubation, done by both parents, lasts from 20 to 22 days and they fledge after 44 to 48 days. Both parents care for the young during dependence.

Feeding habits

Difficult to distinguish from that of Swift except in being restricted to southern fringe of latter?s breeding range, in lower middle and lower latitudes, and in being largely linked with coastlines and coastal or riparian lowlands of Mediterranean or subtropical climates. Overlapping extends not only to common range for aerial foraging but locally to mixed nesting colonies. However, transfer from cliff-nesting to use of buildings has apparently developed less far than in Swift, although not less than in Alpine Swift.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Pallid Swift status Least Concern


Migratory in all but the more southerly breeding areas. As a result of double brooding it is present for much longer in the Western Palearctic than Common Swift. In the north of the range it arrives in France in early April, leaving by mid-November. Present further south on the Canaries from January to September, and Gibraltar and Marocco from late February to October. In the winter present in Gambia from October to December with lesser numbers through to April. In more central North African areas such as around Lake Chad and in Mali present to some extent for most of the year, with less occuring in July but some present, in Mali at least, throughout the year. Locally resident in the Middle East. Spring migration through Eilat peaks in late February to mid-April, with autumn migration from late may to late September, mainly June-July. Very common passage migrant, Djibouti. In NW Africa migration from late February (or mid-March) to early May, and from August to November. Migration dates are confused by the return of some birds to Moroccan breeding sites as early as mid-December and the not infrequent incidence of wintering as far north as South France and in India.

Distribution map

Pallid Swift distribution range map

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