The identification of juvenile Common and Pallid Swifts

Published on 04 June 2018 in Main articles

By Hans Larsson

Abstract Separating Common Apus apus and Pallid Swifts A. pallidus in autumn in a vagrant context can be one of the more difficult challenges for birders in northwest Europe. The fact that the key characters of the juvenile plumage of both species are poorly descried in the literature is an additional complication. Based on a review of Swedish records of Pallid Swift, and publication in Swedish in Vår Fågelvärld, this paper describes the key identification characters of Common and Pallid Swifts in juvenile plumage.

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Juvenile Common Swift, Sweden, 13th August 2016. Note the darker blackish-brown ground colour, the marked contrast between the whitish ‘face’ and the rest of the head, the distinct white leading edge to the wings, the rather well defined and whitish fringing to the wing-coverts, and the quite deep tail fork of this individual. Hans Larsson