Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)

The Pallid Swifts breeding in Venice centre

Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus) is a rare and localized species in the region of Veneto, with just a couple of colonies in some ancient city centres. Venice is one of them, with a population of maybe a ten of pairs, not far from San Marco square.

I went to have a look to the small colony a morning of August, when most of the other Common Swifts (Apus apus) were presumed to have left their breeding sites.

I found at least 4 nests in holes of the balconies of an old building.

One of the nesting sites
One of the nesting sites

I also spotted a group of at least 20 swifts in the distance, but with an almost covered sky I couldn’t be 100% sure they were Pallid ones. To identify them in flight, expecially when they are very high, is rather a challenge.

Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
Pallid Swif (Apus pallidus)
Pallid Swif (Apus pallidus)

Venice, being in the centre of its lagoon, is often overflown by a lot of water and not birds: during the couple of hours I spent there I had Pygmy Cormorant (Microcarbo pygmaeus), 3 Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea), Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) and many Yellow-Legged Gulls (Larus michahellis).

Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea)
Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea)
Yellow-Legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Yellow-Legged Gull (Larus michahellis)

Particularly nice was, at the end, a Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) fishing nearby the vaporetto station, totally careless of tourists presence.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Luca Boscain

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