How swifts fly for 10 months without landing and do not die

Today, scientists know about the existence of 11 thousand species of birds. Many of them spend a huge amount of time in the air because it is vital for them. First of all, during the flight, birds look for food – from a great height it is best visible. Also, the ability to fly helps them escape from predators, and also cover vast distances in a short time. In winter, some birds move to warmer regions and then return back. To cover thousands of kilometers, they spend a huge amount of time and effort. Science knows a bird that is capable of flying for 10 months without ever landing on Earth.Would you like to know more about this amazing creature?

How swifts fly for 10 months without landing and do not die. Swifts are small birds with amazing capabilities. Photo: Photo.

Swifts are small birds with amazing capabilities. Photo:


  • 1 Where do swifts live
  • 2 What do swifts look like
  • 3 Where do swifts build their nests
  • 4 Which birds fly the longest
  • 5 What do birds eat in the air

Where do swifts live

Birds that can fly for a record long time without landing are swifts.We are not talking about a specific species, but about a family of birds that are distributed almost everywhere. They are not found except in the northernmost and southern parts of our planet, in Australia, as well as some oceanic islands.

What do swifts look like

Swifts are small birds whose body weight variesfrom 10 to 200 grams.On average, their length is 18 centimeterswhich is also not much. All types of swifts look very similar to each other. They have a dense, streamlined body that offers almost no air resistance. Their wings are saber-shaped and their beak is short and flat. Male and female swifts also do not have any special differences.

What swifts look like. A swift in flight. Photo: Photo.

A swift in flight. Photo:

Read also:Why is the Shoebill the most unusual bird in the world?

Where do swifts make their nests

Swifts are able to build a nest almost anywhere. Scientists have managed to find them in trees, deep in caves, in spaces behind waterfalls, on the roofs of houses and even in earthen holes. Many species of swifts glue branches together using their own saliva. The homes of some species consist entirely of saliva, and their nests are eaten as a delicacy.

Interesting fact:Another interesting feature of swifts is their loudness. They scream especially loudly during the mating period, as well as in the evenings. Many types of swifts are capable of echolocation – yes, bats are far from the only creatures with this amazing ability.

Where swifts make nests. Swifts can create a nest even in a rock. Photo: Photo.

Swifts can even create a nest in a rock. Photo:

Swifts are one of the most flight-adapted birds. During the flight, they can eat insects, drink water and bathe in rainwater. There is no evidence of this, but there is an assumption that swifts are even capable of sleeping in flight.

Related article:Which bird flies the highest?

Which birds fly the longest

In the 1970s, ornithologist Ronald Lockley put forward the theory that swifts can fly for 10 months in a row without landing. For a long time, few people believed this, but in 2016, confirmation of this was found.

As part of the scientific work, a team of scientists monitored 13 swifts using sensors attached to their bodies. It was possible to follow some individuals for several years, even during the period when they migrated from Sweden to the south of the Sahara and then flew back.

Which birds fly the longest. The flight speed of a swift can reach 200 kilometers per hour. Photo: Photo.

The flight speed of a swift can reach 200 kilometers per hour. Photo:

As the above-mentioned Ronald Lockley suggested, swifts spend most of their lives in the air. The individuals tracked spent only about two months of the year on land. Some swifts almost never landed, and were in the air 99.5% of the time.

Interesting scientific discovery:Due to global warming, birds are growing larger wings

What do birds eat in the air

The question arises – how can such tiny birds fly for 10 months if it requires a lot of energy? According to scientists, swifts spend much less energy flying than other birds. This is primarily due to the fact that they weigh little and their body has a streamlined shape. They do not need to make much effort to lift their 200-gram bodies into the air, and the aerodynamic body does not provide much air resistance.

Secondly, during the flight, swifts feed on insects, of which there are a lot in the sky. In most cases, in order to feast on a bug, it is enough for them to open their beak slightly – the prey itself flies into their mouth. They can also go to the toilet in the air, as most birds do.

What do birds eat in the air. The small size of the body allows swifts to literally live in the air. Photo: Photo.

The small size of the body allows swifts to literally live in the air. Photo:

Thirdly, swifts have the opportunity to sleep right in the air. Scientists have noticed that sometimes they rise to a height of 2-3 kilometers, and then slowly fall – there is a high probability that it is at this moment that they rest. Scientists are still not exactly sure about this, but they have no other explanations.

You can discuss this and other articles in our Telegram chat or comments in the Zen channel. Join us!

Perhaps after this article you have become a fan of swifts – the abilities of these amazing birds are admirable. If you are interested, read our articles “Why do birds fly and what makes them similar to flightless dinosaurs” and “Which birds can solve logical problems and how this helps them survive.” We are sure you will learn a lot of new things!