A migratory and breeding species for Cyprus and the Akamas peninsula. It arrives in spring (March – April) and departs in autumn (September – October). It’s seen mainly in groups, continuously flying and chasing insects, with their characteristic ‘screaming’ calls.
It breeds in colonies in cities, towns and villages, but also in natural places like gorges, vertical cliffs and other rocky steep places. Its nest is in cavities, in towns and villages usually under roof tiles, windowsills, domes and air ducts. It belongs to the family Apodidae (swifts), that includes species adapted to spend most of their life on air. They mate in flight, and they can even ‘sleep’ while flying.
At a first glance they look like swallows, but they differ in many ways, mainly in shape and flight style. They have an extremely aerodynamic shape, with long, pointed wings like a scythe, very short legs (that are not suitable for sitting on the ground or on branches), suitable to grab on the vertical rocks where they nest.
They have a very small bill that is barely visible with a large mouth, which they open like a funnel to catch their prey, that includes small flying insects (mainly mosquitos, flies etc.). It’s very similar in size, shape and coloration to the Common Swift, but it’s generally paler brown, with a darker back in relation to the wings and a somewhat larger pale throat patch.