Little Swift | Apus affinis

Robert's Birding Information: Little Swift

The Little Swift is a Southern African bird that belongs to the apodidae bird family group which includes birds such as Typical Swifts.

The description for the Little Swift (Latin name Apus affinis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Apus affinis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 417 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 240. You will find a picture of the Little Swift on page 257.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Little Swift between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Little Swift is known in Afrikaans as Kleinwindswael.

The Little Swift has a height of 13 cms and weighs around 25 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured black. The Apus affinis has a white coloured throat, purple legs and a grey, white coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is brown.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is black.

Legs are purple.

Throat is white.

Back is grey, white.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Little Swift Feeding Habits ...

The Apus affinis attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Little Swift Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Little Swift is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 3 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.