ABOUT Tachimarptis melba

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, flying effortlessly and chasing insects. It breeds in colonies in gorges, vertical cliffs and other steep rocky areas.

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.).

This species is the largest of the family that visits Cyprus (and Europe), with uniformly dark brown upperparts, while the underparts are also dark brown with white belly and throat, separated by a dark collar.

Tachimarptis melba

Alpine Swift

Did you know...

They have a very small bill that is barely visible with a large mouth.