We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Much of the Time Is a Common Swift in the Air?

Young common swifts will stay airborne for two to three years, landing only for brief moments to check out possible nesting sites. These birds are able to eat insects caught in mid-air and will drink, sleep and mate while flying.

Common swifts are the only bird that spends this much time on the wing without landing. Even nest building materials are gathered from airborne debris on windy days and are stuck together into a nest with saliva.

The common swift has feet that are ill-adapted to any kind of walking or perching, but can cling to vertical surfaces like cliff faces and the eaves of old houses where they commonly make their nests.

More about swifts:

  • The common swift lives in Europe and Asia during the summer breeding season and migrates to Central and Southern Africa for the rest of the year.
  • The common swift can reach diving speeds of up to 135 miles per hour.
  • In order to stay safely out of reach of predators while sleeping, swifts can drift up to 10,000 feet high during the night. It's likely they sleep in a similar way to dolphins, by shutting down half of their brain at a time to rest.
Discussion Comments
By anon993048 — On Oct 20, 2015

It is a bit hard to imagine how swifts sleep while still flying.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.