Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Black swift – Belarus’s Bird of the Year 2012

On March 22, 2012 the Ministry of Communications and Information of the Republic of Belarus issued the stamp set features Black swift from the regularly series “Bird of the year”. This issued stamp  has marked logo of Birdlife International.

The Black Swift or The Common Swift (Apus apus) is a medium-sized bird, larger than   Barn Swallow or House Martin but this species completely unrelated to those passerine species. The Black Swift nearest relatives are thought to be the New World hummingbirds and the Southeast Asian treeswifts.

Black Swifts are 16–17 cm long with a wingspan of 38–40 cm and entirely blackish-brown except for a small white or pale grey patch on their chins which is not visible from a distance. They have a short forked tail and very long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang.These birds have very short legs which they use only for clinging to vertical surfaces . They never settle voluntarily on the ground, where they would be vulnerable to accidents and predation. Black swifts are migratory.


Other issues are maxi-card and first day cover. The maxi-card shown Black swift more detail. Except when breeding, Black swift spend their lives in the air, living on the insects they catch in flight. They drink, feed, and often mate and sleep on the wing. No other bird spends as much of its life in flight. Feeding parties can be very large indeed in suitable insect-rich areas, such as wetlands.

Black swift form reasonably faithful pairs that may last for years, and they will return to the same nesting site and partner year after year, rebuilding their nest when necessary.


The first day cover shown Black swift in flight and has special post marked. The comparison photo of this species  has taken from Wikipedia. The call is a loud scream in two different tone pitches, of which the higher one is from the female and the lower one from the male. Black swift often form 'screaming parties' during summer evenings where about 10-20 Swifts will gather and fly around their nesting area, all calling out to each other, and being answered by other Swifts within the nests. (Resources: Wikipedia)


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