Go to table of contentsGo to magazine home pageGo to Swift home


Records of the Common Swift from Africa are not common. We know that they range from South of the Sahara (Moreau 1972) to the North of the Oranje River  in South Africa (Newman 1992). We do not know whether they follow any set pattern of behaviour in their wintering areas, such as always migrating by the same route or showing a preference for a particular type of habitat. They will without doubt avoid places with few or no flying insects, because they are dependent on this resource for their food.

 

Tommy Pedersen lived and worked as a pilot in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for four and a half years, and systematically recorded the birds that he saw. This list contains the first continuous records of the Common Swift (Apus apus) in Africa, all from the DRC.

 

2479 individual Swifts were seen in 54 observations over a period of four and a half years. February is the period of the greatest number of Spring observations, but March shows the greatest number of individual Swifts seen. October shows the largest number of Autumn observations and individual birds seen.

 

The irregularity of the sightings and counts (few Spring sightings in 1994 and 1995, no sightings in 1996, few sightings in Autumn1992, and none in 1995) give the impression that there are no set patterns for Common Swifts passing through the DRC. However, the author moved from place to place and did not record any negative sightings/dates, so that the data available is  valuable only for the place and time that are mentioned.

 

After http://www.embassyworld.com: Democratic Republic of the Congo (1998), changed

Fig 1: Map of the locations of Common Swift observations. Common Swifts were recorded in the areas marked with an X.

 

 

           
1992 1993 1994 1995 1996  
          Sum
January 50 4       54
February 150 221 52 10   433
March 350 375 15 1   741
April   1       1
May 10       5 15
June         .- 0
July         .- 0
August 65   60   .- 125
September   7 100   .- 107
October 80 680 100   .- 860
November 2 131     .- 133
December   10     .- 10
Total 707 1429 327 11 5 2479

Table A: Common Swift Chart showing numbers of observations and  individual birds noted by month and year.

 

 

                   

Fig 2: Graph showing individuals observed and observations made. The number of individuals does not necessarily correspond with the number of observations. Except for the month of June, Swifts were present in the DRC all year, but in markedly differing numbers.

 

- U.T.

 

 

References

Moreau, R.E. (1972): The Palaearctic-African Bird Migration Systems. London-New York  (Academic Press)

Newman, Kenneth (1992): Newman's Birds of Southern Africa. London etc. (Collins)

 

 

 

TOMMY PEDERSEN :

 

Sightings of the Common Swift (Apus apus) in Congo

 

Date Count Site Province Location of site
1/21/1992 50 Kisangani airport Orientale Province 0:28:49N+25:19:59E
2/9/1992 5 Nyiragongo plains Nord-Kivu 1:28:47S+29:19:36E
2/10/1992 20 Goma Nord-Kivu 1:41:36S+29:13:52E
2/11/1992 50 Goma Nord-Kivu 1:41:36S+29:13:52E
2/13/1992 50 Goma Nord-Kivu 1:41:36S+29:13:52E
2/21/1992 20 Goma Nord-Kivu 1:41:36S+29:13:52E
2/24/1992 5 Rwindi Nord-Kivu 0:45:39S+29:22:10E
3/1/1992 200 Goma; Lac Vert Nord-Kivu 1:38:9S+29:8:12E
3/9/1992 100 Kibumba forest Nord-Kivu 1:23:34S+29:21:23E
3/14/1992 50 Nyiragongo plains Nord-Kivu 1:28:47S+29:19:36E
5/3/1992 10 Goma Nord-Kivu 1:41:36S+29:13:52E
8/29/1992 50 Rumangabo forest Nord-Kivu 1:20:34S+29:21:31E
8/30/1992 10 Kanyabayonga Nord-Kivu 0:42:33S+29:10:8E
8/31/1992 5 Beni - Komanda road Orientale Province 1:6:22N+29:37:30E
10/12/1992 50 Tongo road Nord-Kivu 1:20:40S+29:11:25E
10/14/1992 30 Goma - Sake road Nord-Kivu 1:37:5S+29:8:16E
11/2/1992 2 Rutshuru plains Nord-Kivu 1:6:27S+29:23:13E
1/24/1993 4 Goma Nord-Kivu 1:41:36S+29:13:52E
2/6/1993 1 Nyiragongo plains Nord-Kivu 1:28:47S+29:19:36E
2/9/1993 20 Bukavu-Kavumu airstrip Sud-Kivu 2:18:22S+28:48:57E
2/9/1993 100 Goma Nord-Kivu 1:41:36S+29:13:52E
2/14/1993 50 Goma Nord-Kivu 1:41:36S+29:13:52E
2/20/1993 25 Nyiragongo plains Nord-Kivu 1:28:47S+29:19:36E
2/25/1993 25 Bunia airport Orientale Province 1:33:25N+30:14:26E
3/1/1993 75 Bukavu-Kavumu airstrip Sud-Kivu 2:18:22S+28:48:57E
3/1/1993 300 Namoya Maniema 4:1:9S+27:33:27E
4/9/1993 1 Rutshuru plains Nord-Kivu 1:6:27S+29:23:13E
9/29/1993 2 Kama Maniema 3:31:19S+27:6:58E
9/30/1993 5 Kindu airport Maniema 2:54:31S+25:55:24E
10/20/1993 50 Kama Maniema 3:31:19S+27:6:58E
10/30/1993 50 Bunyakiri Nord-Kivu 2:4:32S+28:34:20E
10/30/1993 500 Irangi Sud-Kivu 1:52:47S+28:27:1E
10/31/1993 80 Irangi Sud-Kivu 1:52:47S+28:27:1E
11/1/1993 75 Irangi Sud-Kivu 1:52:47S+28:27:1E
11/5/1993 15 Shabunda airstrip Sud-Kivu 2:41:12S+27:20:31E
11/7/1993 25 Kama Maniema 3:31:19S+27:6:58E
11/10/1993 2 Rumangabo forest Nord-Kivu 1:20:34S+29:21:31E
11/17/1993 10 Kindu airport Maniema 2:54:31S+25:55:24E
11/20/1993 4 Rutshuru plains Nord-Kivu 1:6:27S+29:23:13E
12/11/1993 10 Goma Nord-Kivu 1:41:36S+29:13:52E
2/3/1994 5 Goma Nord-Kivu 1:41:36S+29:13:52E
2/7/1994 25 Nioka Orientale Province 2:8:37N+30:37:19E
2/8/1994 20 Nioka Orientale Province 2:8:37N+30:37:19E
2/10/1994 2 Ishwa plain Orientale Province 2:10:28N+31:9:4E
3/5/1994 15 Goma Nord-Kivu 1:41:36S+29:13:52E
8/19/1994 50 Bukavu-Kavumu airstrip Sud-Kivu 2:18:22S+28:48:57E
8/25/1994 10 Bukavu-Kavumu airstrip Sud-Kivu 2:18:22S+28:48:57E
9/19/1994 100 Isiro airport Orientale Province 2:47:10N+27:37:41E
10/4/1994 25 Bukavu-Kavumu airstrip Sud-Kivu 2:18:22S+28:48:57E
10/9/1994 25 Bunia airport Orientale Province 1:33:25N+30:14:26E
10/9/1994 50 Isiro airport Orientale Province 2:47:10N+27:37:41E
2/25/1995 10 Mbandaka airport Equateur 0:1:42N+18:16:55E
3/5/1995 1 Kimpoko Kinshasa 4:11:58S+15:33:0E
5/2/1996 5 Mbandaka airport Equateur 0:1:42N+18:16:55E

Table 1: Recorded observations of the Common Swift in the DRC.

 

APUSlife 2003, No. 2880

ISSN 1438-2261

Go to table of contentsGo to magazine home pageGo to Swift home