The swift is a fast-flying and distinctive bird with long, curved wings. Originally nesting on cliffs and in holes in trees, it now mainly nests in buildings, such as churches, and is particularly common in older parts of towns and cities. Swifts spend the winter in Africa, with the first birds usually returning to the UK in April, though most don't arrive until May.
What do they look like?
The swift is black all over, with a small, pale patch on its throat. Looking a bit like a boomerang when in the air, it is very sociable and can often be spotted in groups wheeling over roofs and calling to each other with high-pitched screams.
It is larger than swallows and martins (which have white undersides) and, unlike them, does not perch on wires, buildings or trees.
Swifts fly extremely high, and extremely fast! No other bird can fly faster in level flight. They spend their lives in the air - sleeping, mating and drinking on the wing - and won’t land or perch, though can sometimes cling to a high vertical surface. They avoid coming anywhere near the ground.