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TOMMY PEDERSEN:
 

Sightings of the Common Swift (Apus apus) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)


The Common Swift does not breed in the Arabian Peninsula (Cramp 1994), despite of this one can see the species in the UAE on migration. Care must be given to separate this species from the very common Pallid Swift. Over the last few years I have collected sightings from reliable observers.

 

 

Fig 1: The graph shows the count of individuals as well as the number of observations. In April and September Common Swifts were most often recorded, while April and May saw the highest counts in the UAE.

 

On the graph one can see that the Common Swift is recorded in the UAE the whole year around, except the summer months June and July, when on a very low level. It is obvious that there are two periods of higher activities, one in February - May and one in August - October, while there are no records from June and July, and as expected very few in November - February. Since birdwatching occurs on a near-daily basis year round in the UAE, one can clearly see that the presence of Common Swift follows some structural seasonal pattern, while the rules are not very strict, with a higher presence in spring and autumn, as would be expected from a species on migration in the UAE.

 

The spring and autumn periods correspond with the two seasonal migration movements. The presence in November until Februar (with all together 17 birds from 8 sightings) seems to correspond with isolated reports from Europe (see the collection of  "winter sightings" in http://www.commonswift.org/records_english.html) in the same months, than with the likelihood of overwintering here.

 

The low number of records also indicate that the Common Swift in general does not use the UAE as a migration route, and that it is in fact a scarce migrant in the country.

 

References

Cramp, Stanley (Ed.) (1994): Apus apus Swift. In Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palearctic, vol. 4. Oxford-New York,  Oxford University Press

 

 

 

Appendix

Observations of the Common Swift (Apus apus) in the UAE

 

Date

Count

Site

Emirate

 

 

 

 

22.09.1992

1

Al Wathba Prison Pools

Abu Dhabi

26.08.1994

1

Abu Dhabi; Bateen Wood 

Abu Dhabi

26.08.1994

5

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

01.09.1994

1

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

29.09.1994

20

Jebel Hafit

Abu Dhabi

30.09.1994

1

Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club 

Abu Dhabi

13.10.1994

2

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

25.09.1997

1

Khalidiyah 

Abu Dhabi

24.09.1999

1

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

06.11.1999

1

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

31.03.2000

3

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

14.04.2000

2

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

15.09.2000

1

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

12.04.2001

2

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

13.09.2001

1

Qurrayah 

Fujairah

14.09.2001

3

Wamm Farms

Fujairah

19.10.2001

4

Dubai Pivot Fields

Abu Dhabi

05.04.2002

6

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

19.04.2002

1

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

19.04.2002

1

Jebel Ali Hotel

Dubai

27.12.2002

2

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

25.03.2004

18

Wadi al-Reum 

Abu Dhabi

26.03.2004

1

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

10.09.2004

1

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

12.09.2004

1

Wimpey Pits

Dubai

16.09.2004

1

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

04.12.2004

2

Al Wathba Camel Racetrack 

Abu Dhabi

19.02.2005

1

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

29.04.2005

3

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

06.05.2005

20

Wamm Farms

Fujairah

12.05.2005

1

Abu Dhabi; Eastern Lagoon 

Abu Dhabi

14.03.2006

1

Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club 

Abu Dhabi

17.03.2006

1

Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club 

Abu Dhabi

18.03.2006

1

Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club 

Abu Dhabi

31.03.2006

1

Al Wathba Lake 

Abu Dhabi

08.04.2006

26

Abu Dhabi; Eastern Lagoon 

Abu Dhabi

10.04.2006

6

Al Warsan Water Treatment Plant

Dubai

10.04.2006

5

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

13.04.2006

1

Wasit Nature Reserve

Sharjah

16.04.2006

2

Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club 

Abu Dhabi

19.04.2006

1

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

20.04.2006

1

Wasit Nature Reserve 

Sharjah

21.04.2006

2

Hamraniyah Fields

Ra's al-Khaimah

21.04.2006

6

Masafi Wadi 

Fujairah

21.04.2006

2

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

27.04.2006

2

Safa Park

Dubai

30.04.2006

10

The Montgomerie; Emirates Hills golf course

Dubai

21.08.2006

3

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

23.08.2006

6

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

02.09.2006

2

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

15.09.2006

3

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

26.09.2006

1

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

05.10.2006

1

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

06.10.2006

1

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

07.10.2006

3

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

02.01.2007

6

Qurrayah 

Fujairah

05.01.2007

1

Palm Sports Resort 

Abu Dhabi

25.03.2007

1

Dubai Creek Park

Dubai

25.03.2007

1

Dubai; Umm Suqeim

Dubai

14.04.2007

2

Al Warsan Lakes

Dubai

14.04.2007

5

Safa Park

Dubai

19.04.2007

2

Al Mamzar Park

Dubai

19.04.2007

1

Dubai Creek Park

Dubai

20.04.2007

6

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

22.04.2007

3

Al Mamzar Park

Dubai

23.04.2007

3

Al Mamzar Park

Dubai

25.04.2007

3

Al Mamzar Park

Dubai

14.05.2007

1

Sharjah Rubbish Tip 

Sharjah

27.09.2007

1

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

03.10.2007

1

Dubai; The Lakes

Dubai

21.11.2007

1

Palm Sports Resort 

Abu Dhabi

29.02.2008

3

Ain al-Fayda 

Abu Dhabi

07.03.2008

10

Ain al-Fayda

Abu Dhabi

23.03.2008

250

Al Wathba Lake

Abu Dhabi

23.03.2008

1

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

05.09.2008

2

Green Mubazzarah 

Abu Dhabi

05.09.2008

3

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

11.09.2008

1

Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club 

Abu Dhabi

12.09.2008

2

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

16.09.2008

1

Al Wathba Lake 

Abu Dhabi

19.09.2008

1

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

26.09.2008

2

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

27.03.2009

20

Hamraniyah Fields

Ra's al-Khaimah

27.03.2009

10

Khatt

Ra's al-Khaimah

29.03.2009

14

Green Mubazzarah 

Abu Dhabi

31.03.2009

3

Hamraniyah Fields 

Ra's al-Khaimah

04.04.2009

2

Abu Dhabi - Mirfa Road 

Abu Dhabi

04.04.2009

1

Sila'a Peninsula 

Abu Dhabi

05.04.2009

2

Sila'a Peninsula 

Abu Dhabi

06.04.2009

3

Ghiyathi - Liwa Oasis Road 

Abu Dhabi

18.04.2009

10

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

19.04.2009

10

Dubai Pivot Fields

Dubai

04.08.2009

1

Dabb'iya Peninsula 

Abu Dhabi

22.08.2009

2

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

04.09.2009

1

Wamm Farms 

Fujairah

11.09.2009

1

Green Mubazzarah 

Abu Dhabi

 

Table 1: Recorded observations of the Common Swift in the UAE

 

APUSlife 2010, No. 3783

ISSN 1438-2261

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