ID Chal­lenge

MAY: HIRUNDINES AND SWIFTS

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

This month we fo­cus on the aerial feed­ers of hirundines and swifts

SOME PEO­PLE CALL them ‘aerial plank­ton feed­ers’, the swal­lows, martins and swifts which spend very long pe­ri­ods of time in con­tin­u­ous flight catch­ing fly­ing in­sects and float­ing spi­ders in their wide gapes. They are the grace­ful swal­lows, martins and swifts which are al­ways such a plea­sure to watch on a spring or sum­mer’s day. Some­times, though, they are less of a plea­sure to iden­tify, pre­sent­ing a mod­icum of chal­lenge if seen in the wrong light, at the wrong height or dis­ap­pear­ing quickly out of sight. Swifts are not re­ally re­lated to hirundines, but a bit of con­ver­gent evo­lu­tion has given them sim­i­larly shaped bod­ies, tiny bills, long thin wings and forked tails as adap­ta­tions to their life­styles. See if you can name these six birds, then turn the page for the so­lu­tions and more ID tips.

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