Cape Verde Swifts or Alexander's Swifts

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The Cape Verde Swift or Alexander's Swift (Apus alexandri) is a small bird found only in the Cape Verde Islands, located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa.

This species has been recorded from all the islands except Santa Luzia although it probably breeds only on Santiago, Fogo, Brava, Santo Antão and São Nicolau.

It is generally common with a stable population and is not considered to be threatened.

It can be seen flying over all habitats and hunts in flight for insects, foraging in flocks over gullies and along cliffs and shorelines.



The Alexander Swift measures 13 cm in length and has a wingspan of 34 to 35 cm.

The plumage is dark grey-brown with a large pale throat-patch. Compared to other swifts recorded from the islands it is smaller with shorter wings and a shallower fork to the tail. Its flight action is weaker and more fluttering. It has a high-pitched, screaming call with a buzzing quality.

The nest is built in a crevice in a cliff, in a cave or in the roof of a building. It is saucer-shaped and made of grass and feathers. The eggs are white and a clutch size of two has been reported.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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