Horus Swift | Apus horus

Robert's Birding Information: Horus Swift

The Horus 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 Horus Swift (Latin name Apus horus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Apus horus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 416 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 242. You will find a picture of the Horus 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 Horus Swift between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Horus Swift is known in Afrikaans as Horuswindswael.

The Horus Swift has a height of 15 cms and weighs around 26 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured grey. The Apus horus has a white coloured throat, pink 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 grey.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is grey.

Legs are pink.

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

Horus Swift Feeding Habits ...

The Apus horus 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.

Horus Swift Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Horus 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 2 to 4 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest within a tree cavity just a few meters above the ground. The hole in the tree is normally reused in the next nesting season.

The bird is found in the arid and semi-arid regions of Southern Africa and it can withstand high day and night temperatures.

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

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

Seen in pairs or flocks.