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Booth Museum Bird of the Month, May 2020: Swift, Apus apus

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This month is the perfect time to keep an eye out for Swifts, Apus apus.

UK conservation status: Amber

The joy of May begins again, as swifts start screaming into our skies. They return from sub-Saharan Africa and stay only long enough to breed, making the return journey in August. Their Latin name means ‘without feet’, as they rarely land. They feed, mate and even sleep on the wing. The swift’s legs and feet are tiny and positioned very far back on the body, to make them more streamlined. When they do land, usually only when breeding, they have an ungainly shuffle as they move about the nest.

Why not come and have a look at the Booth Museum specimens once we reopen and compare them with any you’ve managed to photograph (or our sample images).

© Lee Ismail

Discover More

Read more from the Booth Museum on swifts

Kerrie Curzon, Collections Assistant and Lee Ismail, Curator of Natural Sciences