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Apus melba

warning Data Missing

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Ohad Hatzofe, Noam Weiss, Lior Kislev, Meidad Goren, Rei Segali

The Alpine Swift is classified as Data Deficient (DD) as there is insufficient data to assess its status in Israel. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Least Concern (LC) and it is still a relatively common summer breeder.
DD Current Regional Assessment | LC Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Habitats Desert Cliffs, Mediterranean Cliffs
Presence In Israel Summer Breeder, Migrant
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Long Range
Zoography Zones Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian
Landscape Formations Mountainous, Cliffs
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Cliffs, Buildings
Diet Types Invertebrate
Foraging Grounds Aerial
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Unknown

The Alpine Swift, like other swifts, spends almost all its time in the air. It is specifically adapted to flight, with a compact body and long, narrow, pointed wings. It has a small slightly curved triangular bill, and a large gape that allows it to catch insects in flight. Its tail is short and forked. Plumage is brownish-grey, with a white belly and throat, separated by a brown neckband. Its characteristic flight includes rapid deep wingbeats followed by glides. When foraging, it performs rapid maneuvers, while sounding a series of sharp calls. The Alpine Swift is a gregarious bird that nests in colonies and flies in flocks in its wintering areas as well.

The Alpine Swift is a common passage migrant, a relatively common summer breeder and a rare winter visitor. During migration, flocks can be seen throughout Israel. It breeds in most of the mountainous regions in Israel, from the upper Galilee in the north to the Judean Desert canyons and Negev Highlands in the south.

The Alpine Swift breeds in colonies in mountainous and cliff areas. The nests are often located in crevices and on the ceilings of large caves. In Europe it also nests in tall buildings, similar to the Common Swift, while in Israel it can also be found nesting under tall bridges and in road tunnels.

  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Ohad Hatzofe, Noam Weiss, Lior Kislev, Meidad Goren, Rei Segali

Current Occupancy Map

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

() districts
% of protected sites

Other Species

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Apus pallidus
Apus affinis
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