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Black African Swift

At Dromoland Castle

The African black swift is 16–18 cm long. It appears entirely blackish-brown except for a small white or pale grey patch on the chin which is not visible from a distance. It has a short-forked tail and very long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. Black African Swifts have nested on the roof of the castle for several years.

As we continue to encourage them, we have placed two nesting boxes on the roof of the castle with a capacity for up to 6 birds. The boxes are equipped with an electronic pulse system that emits a high-pitched squeal (the squeal made when foraging) to attract them to nest and breed. The offspring remain airborne for the first 3 years of their lives and never touch ground. They sleep and eat “on the wing” (sleep & eat in the air).

Once hatched the offspring leave the nest in a few weeks and move on from Ireland across to Europe. They can fly up to an altitude of 3,000 metres. They travel distances of up to 500 miles a day. They fly as a pack and can be seen in their thousands flying together. They hunt insects which are their main food source.

Some other birds on the estate include: robin, sparrow, crow, jackdaw, magpie, sparling, bluetit, thrush, finch, blackbird, wren, pigeon, heron & listen for the distinctive sound of the cuckoo in the month of May.