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Apus melba

warning Data Deficient

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Ohad Hatzofe, Noam Weiss, Lior Kislev, Meidad Goren, Rei Segali
Update Time: Jan. 1, 2011, 7:39 a.m.

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 Global Assessment

Habitats Desert Cliffs, Mediterranean Cliffs
Presence In Israel Migrant, Summer
Breeding In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Long Range
Zoographical Zones Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian
Landscape Types 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

Current occupancy map by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
0 0 0 0 0

Distribution maps

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

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values in the current decade as determined from experts' opinion and observations from databases.

Relative Abundance 2010-2020 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
8 12 12 21 19

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Density values based primarily on the book The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Relative Abundance 1980-1990 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
5 14 14 17 22

Occupancy 1990-2020

The map shows differences in the species breeding distribution between the 1980's breeding map and the current weighted breeding evaluation. Negative value - species previously bred in the grid and is not presently breeding; positive value - species has not previously bred in the grid and is currently breeding.

Occupancy 1990-2020
Data Missing No Change Occupancy Increase Occupancy Decrease
6 35 1 9

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020

The map shows the changes in the relative abundance of a species in each of the distribution grids between the breeding map of the 1980s and the weighted current breeding evaluation. Negative values - decline in abundance; positive values - increase in abundance; zero - no change in abundance.

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020
80 to 100 50 20 to 30 No Change 30- to 20- 50- 100- to 80- Data Missing
0 4 2 22 12 14 11 16

Red number
IUCN category
Threat Definition according to the red book
() districts
% of protected sites

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