Cypselus apus, (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 344 (1766) ; Naum. vi. p, 123, Taf. 147, fig. 2 : Hewitson, i. p. 267, pl. lxv. fig. 5 ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 3 , Newton, ii. p. 364 ; Dresser, iv. p. 58, pl. 266 ; (Hartert), Cat. B. Br. Mus. xvi. p. 442 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 165 ; Saunders, p. 261 ; Lilford, ii. p. 38, pl. 16 ; C. murarius (Meyer), Vug. Livl, &c. p. 143 (1815) ; Gould, B. of E. ii. p. 53.
Martinet de muraille, French ; Andorinhao, Portug. ; Avion, Falsia, Span. ; Rondone, Ital ; Thurmsegler, Mauersegler, Germ. ; Gierzwaluw, Dutch ; Muur-svale, Dan. ; Taarnsvale, Norw. ; Tornsvala, Swed. ; Nahkasiipi, Luniapaasky, Tervapaasky, Finn. ; Streshbaschinnoi, Russ.
ad. (Sweden), Blackish brown, with a faint greenish gloss ; chin dull, white, with obsolete dark stripes ; bill and feet blackish ; iris dark brown Bill from gape 0.65, wing 6.5, tail 3.15, tarsus 0.55 inch. Sexes alike. The young bird has the throat whiter, and most of the feathers are margined with dull white.
Hab. The whole of Europe, north to 69°, in winter migrating down to S. Africa and Madagascar ; Asia as far east as Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Kashmir. Essentially a bird of the air it is really only at home when on the wing, and on the ground is very helpless.
It frequents old towns, ruins, steeples, and rocks, and its note is a loud, harsh, prolonged screech or scream. It feeds entirely on insects of various kinds, chiefly hymenoptera and diptera, which it captures on the wing. Its flight is extremely rapid, and is performed by quick flaps of its long wings, and long glidings with the wings extended and seemingly motionless. It breeds in a cranny in a cliff, an old building, or a hollow tree, constructing a somewhat rude cup-shaped nest of straws intermixed with small rootlets, feathers, moss, hair, or wool glued together by a viscid mucous secretion which forms abundantly in the gape of the bird. The eggs, 2 to 4 in number, are usually deposited in June, and are pure white, glossless, and elongated in shape, measuring about 1.02 by 0.67.
610. Cypselus apus