An inexperienced observer thinks that there is not much difference between swifts and swallows. They lead a similar way of life: these birds feed on insects caught on the fly in the air; Both are excellent flyers. The shape of the beak in them has a similarity: short with a wide cut.
In the air these birds are almost all day, writing out intricate pirouettes. On the land of swifts and swallows you will rarely see. In the spring they come to us from the warm edges, in the autumn they fly back.
In fact, these birds have a lot of differences. So, let's compare swallows and swifts. They have much more differences than similarities. They are not even "close relatives", since they belong to different species. Swifts - to the detachment of long-winged (shearing), and swallows - to passerines.
If you compare swallows and swifts from the ground, watching them in flight, you can see the difference in maneuverability. The second fly quickly and very quickly, and the first write in the air intricate pirouettes. Swifts in flight speed are champions among birds: it is known that they can develop it up to 150 km / h. Swallows on this indicator they lose (up to 60 km / h), but they outperform them in maneuverability.
When the birds are in the air, you can make another comparison. Swallows and swifts can be distinguished by the color of the abdomen, which is clearly visible from below. The first white breast, and the second is dark. Swift, unlike swallows, never folds the wings. Flying swifts give out loud screams, especially cutting ears, when their packs rush over the ground in search of prey.
If you can get a closer look at the birds and make a more detailed comparison of swallows and swifts, you can see other differences, most important of which is the structure of the feet. At the swallow, she, like most birds, has four fingers, three of which are forward, and the fourth - back. Swifts forward all four fingers. This gives them the ability to cling to the legs for any vertical surface. Sometimes Swifts even sleep, clinging to their claws against the wall.
The chattering of the swallows turns into melodic trills, while in the swifts the screams sometimes turn into a squeal. Another difference is the structure of the tail and wings. At swallows, the tail is forked and longer than the swifts. The wings of the second are larger and wider, they are crescent shaped.
Birds differ and plumage. In swallows it is bluish, shiny, with a black outturn, a white breast. On the head "cap" reddish-red, under the throat a bright spot. Swifts have a dark color with a slightly greenish tint and a white speck on the throat.
The way of life of birds is also different. Chicks in the nest are hatching both a swift and a swallow. The difference is that the second wind their nests under the roofs of houses, under the eaves. They have 4-5 chicks who wait with their mouths open, when the parents put another portion of food there.
With the onset of cold weather, one and the other fly south. Places where swallows and swifts winter: South Africa, Madagascar. Birds have to travel great distances. On the way, they are 5-6 weeks old, feeding on the fly. Night flocks of birds spend in the reeds.
If the weather caught them, travelers can spend a few days in a daze, hiding in caves. Before the onset of favorable weather, all life processes in their bodies slow down. In the spring they will overcome the same long path and return to their nests.