The Swift is sooty brown all over, but against the sky it appears black. It has long, scythe-like wings and a short, forked tail. You could mistake it for a Swallow – but Swifts don’t bend their wings while flying. It’s also impossible to see them land – their nesting places are hidden away in roofs and they fly in and out very quickly. Swifts are very unusual in terms of their length of life – some Swifts can live up to 21 years!
They never perch like Swallows. You might see screaming parties of them careering madly at high speed around rooftops and houses, mainly in towns and cities, especially towards dusk. The Swift is a superb flier. They spend almost the whole of their life on the wing. They land only to breed – they even sleep on the wing!
They are easiest to observe in built-up areas where they have their nests in the cracks, air holes and sometimes specially provided nest boxes.Remember that Swifts are very common in the city, while rather hard to spot in the countryside.