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andorinhão real. Trachymarptis melba. alpine swift.


ALPINE SWIFT
Thachymarptis melba

Description

This bird has sickle-shaped wings and is most of the time seen in flight, like the other swifts. It is the largest swift that occurs in Portugal and is a particularly easy to distinguish, not only because of its greater size, but also because of the white throat patch and belly that are so characteristic of this species. The remaining plumage is brownish. The best way to detect this species is by its call, since these birds tend to fly at high altitudes, which makes its detection difficult. This species has no sexual dimorphism.

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Subspecies

There are ten subspecies of Alpine Swift, with the nominal subspecies Tachymarptis melba melba occurring in Portugal.

Scientific Name Transcription

'Tachymarptis' is derived from the combination of the two Greek words Takhos and Marpto. The term 'Takhos' means 'fast', while 'marpto' means ‘enjoy', a clear reference to the sensation that the flight of these birds conveys. The specific epithet 'melba' has no known origin.

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56 to 70 cm

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75 to 125 g

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26 YEARS

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MAR | OCT

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1 CLUTCH

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3 EGGS

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Distribution

Summer species in the Mediterranean basin, South Africa, Middle East and South Asia; wintering species in western and eastern Africa; and resident species in Namibia, Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, western India and Sri Lanka. In Portugal, it can be seen between March and October and is distributed throughout the territory, always associated with large rocky cliffs where it nests. The Algarve and Alentejo’s rocky coast, the Douro International and some mountainous scarps in the centre of the country are the main places where this species occurs.

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Conservation

There is no evidence that the Alpine Swift populations are in decline and therefore the species maintains the conservation status of Least Concern (LC) both in our country and internationally. 

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Little Swift

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Common Swift

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