Alpine Swifts breed in mountains from southern Europe to the Himalaya. Like Common Swifts, they are strongly migratory, and winter much further south in southern Africa. They wander widely on migration, and are regularly seen in much of southern Europe and Asia. Interestingly, the species seems to have been much more widespread during the last ice age, with a large colony breeding for example at Komarowa Cave near Czestochowa, Poland, around 40,000-20,000 years ago (Tomek & Bochenski 2005).
The Alpine Swift (Apus melba) is a small bird, superficially similar to a large Barn Swallow or House Martin. It is, however, completely unrelated to those passerine species, since swifts are in the order Apodiformes. The resemblances between the groups are due to convergent evolution, reflecting similar life styles.
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alpine Swift".