Order: Apodiformes Family: Apodidae Status: Breeding in Madeira
A fairly small swift with slim body, narrow, pointed wings and deeply forked tail.
Plain swifts are dark-brown to black overall with a very faint paler (not white) throat patch rarely visible.
Its flight is normally with more erratic twist and turns than Pallid swift or Common swift and more
fluttering with faster wingbeats. It is normally in flocks and its high pitched screaming is easily audible.
This Macaronesia species is endemic to Madeira and Canary Islands is normally seen around sea cliffs and towns near the coast all year round, although the population is smaller in winter. In warm summer days it can also be seen up in the mountains.
It has been recorded in Morocco during winter (Chantler and Driessens, 1995).
In Madeira it can easily be mistaken for Common swift which is not so common here but is a vagrant species to the archipelago or for Pallid Swift which also breed in the island. The Common swift is a slightly bigger and bulkier with less forked tail. The Pallid swift is bigger, looks more brownish and the white patch on its chin is larger and more easily seen.
Wingspan: 38 - 39 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Total length: 14 - 15 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Seasonality in Madeira: Part of the population stays all year
Breeding: Its nests in small colonies, in crevices on rocky islets or cliffs. It lays 2 eggs on each of its two broods.
Diet: Feeds while flying on drifting spiders and flying insects
Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Common breeding bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1
Portuguese: Andorinha da Serra
Swedish: Enfärgad seglare
Danish: Ensfarvet Sejler
Spanish: Vencejo Unicolour
French: Martinet unicoloure
Italian: Rondone unicoloure
Polish: Jerzyk jednobarwny
Slovak: Dážďovník morský
Czech: Rorýs jednobarvý
English synonyms: Plain-coloured Swift
Join Madeira Wildlife Monthly Newsletter. All the updates on your email every month.