Swift Bird

Swifts are highly migratory birds that resemble swallows in appearance. One of the best ways to tell a Swift apart from a Swallow is their flying pattern. Swifts tend to have flight characterized by a unique flicking action quite different from swallows. Swifts are known for their ability to fly very fast. They are among the fastest flying birds in the world, with many types of these birds able to fly at over 100 miles per hour for short bursts when they need extra speed.

Swift Bird Photo Photo from RSPB National Swift Inventory.

During the Winter, Swifts tend to migrate to more tropical environments, so if you want to catch them in California or the Bay Area you have to time a visit to the outdoor areas where you want to spot them. Winter is a good time to spot these birds along the Pacific Coast.

Types of Swift Birds

  • Pygmy Swiftlet - one of the smallest types of Swifts at under 4 inches in length
  • Purple Needletail - as big as a foot in length
  • White-Throated Swift - medium-sized swift, mostly brown-black except for white patch on their throat on belly. The White-Throated Swift may be the fastest flying North American bird and can reach speeds of just under 200 mph

Swift Bird Shape

Many different types of Swifts have a characteristic shape. These birds tend to have a short forked tail, very long swept-back wings that are in a very similar shape of a boomerang.

Swifts in Bay Area and California

Swifts tend to be spotted more often in areas with old growth forests rather than new growth forests. Swifts can be found in many different parts of California Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, and Sonoma areas. Swifts tend to live where they can nest easily. To nest, they need large, hollow live trees and snags and man-made chimneys. In Northern California, these birds tend to live along the cost from as far north as Del Norte County to Santa Cruz County. The birds are difficult to spot because they are not densely populated and fly fast and far to find food.

Swifts tend to live and nest near waterfalls. One good time to spot Swifts in California is during their migration period, which ranges from approximately May to early to late Fall when large numbers of them fly north. Swifts have been spotted in Northern California near the city of Healdsburg in Sonoma area. They have been spotted in very large numbers before near Lake Sonoma.

If you are thinking of doing some bird-watching or hiking in the Bay Area or Northern California, please consider joining one of our hiking groups, or creating an event of your own. The site offers many tools designed to make your outdoor experience more social, fun and environmentally friendly.

Related Topics

Copyright (c) - 2010 San Francisco Hiking - All Rights Reserved | About Us | Contact Us