Swifts and Swallows

White-throated Needletail (Hirundapus caudacutus) THREATENED

A summer migrant from north east Asia that is very uncommon around The Cape. They will usually arrive from December onwards and are primarily seen in association with strong weather fronts when they feed on insect swarms at great height, sometimes more than 1.8 km above ground. They are Australia’s largest swift and fly very fast when feeding. It was thought they flew non-stop from northern Asia to Australia without touching the ground but it is now known they roost at night in tall trees. It is unlikely you will see them roost around The Cape, but you may see them reasonably close to the ground when flock foraging. Keep your eyes out above when summer storm fronts blow through – you may catch a glimpse. They are a THREATENED species.

Fork-tailed Swift (Apus pacificus)

A medium sized swift and smaller than the White-throated Needletail, this is another north east Asia migrant to Australia in the summer months, and an uncommon visitor to The Cape. They have long, narrow wings with a more forked tail than the shorter, square tail of the Needletail. Also feeds many 100’s of metres above the ground associated with summer weather front changes. These birds are also thought to sleep aerially – and on their migratory trips south ‘may not touch anything apart from insects in the air and water sipped on dives over pools’.

Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena)

A very familiar bird around The Cape, it is seen all year round in all habitat sectors of the AO but it is more prolific from September through to the summer months. It forages on the wing and rarely perches for more than a moment. Beautiful plumage with a white chest, glossy blue-black back and rufous chin. It is partially migratory and some move north in the non-breeding season.

Nature Observations around The Cape

%d bloggers like this: