The common swift could be considered quite extraordinary as according to new research, the bird spends the equivalent of 10 months in the air.
The Apus apus or as it is better known, the common swift, was revealed by this new study as being an actual record setter as it was determined that it spends more time being airborne than any other bird species.
The previous contender to the title was part of the same family, an Alpine swift or Tachymarptis melba, and is known be capable of almost 200 days of continuous flight.
The current study was published in the Current Biology journal on Thursday and featured Anders Hedenstrom as the research’s team leader.
Hedenstrom, who is an evolutionary ecology professor at the Lund University in Sweden, went to explain that the common swift could potentially spend almost its entire life flying.
This is an incredible feat of evolution, as it extends the human known maximum known period of bird flight., and also denotes that the incredible flyer’s preferred habitat is, in fact, the sky.
According to the researching team’s observations, the swift spent less than 1 percent of their non-breeding periods down on earth.
This led them to believe that most cases of earth landings could be considered precaution or emergency situations, as the bird’s body does not seem to denote a physical necessity for ending the flight.
As the team observed them, some of the common swift specimens landed for a short period of time, in the winter period, so as to roost. These events were usually linked to bad weather or other such extreme situations.
With short legs and quite clumsy movements, the swifts do not seem to be properly equipped for a land living when compared to their aerial life, as they would make quite an easy prey.
In contrast, when up in the air, their bodies can carry them atop air currents without the need to flap their wings, and they also reach a speed of up to 75 miles an hour as their fastest speed.
As Hedenstrom declares, these common swift birds can do everything whilst flying. As they were observed to feed in midair by catching insects, they were also seen to be able to mate, although they still need to come down to earth in order to lay the eggs.
With sleep being one of the elements still puzzling the scientists, they do believe the answer to the sleeping period question could be based on their flight pattern which denotes some curious, everyday deviations.
As the idea of the swift’s long flight periods being long since vehiculated by ornithologists, this is the first study to actually confirm that the common swift is the bird with the longest registered period of flight.
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