Sunday, August 7, 2011

White-Throated Needletail

Hirundapus caudacutus
White-Throated Needletails are one of the largest Swifts in the world. They have thick bodies that are still very aerodynamic, and long, curved wings. Females and males look alike, with grey bodies and white throats and under-tail areas.
This Swift is remarkable because it has the fastest flapping flight speed of any bird. They can move as fast as 106mph (170km/h)! This amazing speed allows them to quickly hunt air-borne insects, and to travel their long migration routes.

White-Throated Needletails are migratory. They breed in Siberia, China, and Japan during May through September, and then begin to fly south towards Australia for the rest of the year. They often live in massive flocks while in Australia. Some can number in the thousands!

Despite being a common species, not much is known about their breeding patterns, though it is believed that mating takes place in mid-air.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : East Asia and Australia
Size : Body Length around 8in (21cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Apodiformes
Family : Apodidae -- Genus : Hirundapus -- Species : H. caudacutus


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