Common Swift (Apus apus)
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Class Aves
Order Apodiformes
Family Apodidae
Genus Apus

Apus is a genis of Old World swifts in the Apodidae family.

They are among the fastest birds in the world. They resemble swallows, to which they are not related, but have shorter tails and sickle-shaped wings. Swifts spend most of their life aloft, have very short legs and use them mostly to cling to surfaces.


The name Apus is Latin for a swift, thought by the ancients to be a type of swallow with no feet (from Ancient Greek α, a, "without", and πούς, pous, "foot").

Before the 1950s, there was some controversy over which group of organism should have the genus name Apus. In 1801 Bosc gave the small crustacean organisms known today as Triops the genus name Apus, and later authors continued to use this term. Keilhack suggested (in 1909) that this was incorrect since there was already an avian genus named Apus by Scopoli in 1777. It was not until 1958 that the controversy finally ended when the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) ruled against the use of the genus name Apus and instead recognized the term Triops.


Dark-rumped Swift (Jerdon, 1864) (Apus acuticauda)
Cape Verde Swift (Hartert, 1901) (Apus alexandri)
Little Swift (JE Gray, 1830) (Apus affinis)
Common Swift (Linnaeus, 1758) (Apus apus)
Malagasy Black Swift (Bartlett, 1880) (Apus balstoni)
African Black Swift (Sclater, 1866) (Apus barbatus)
Bates's Swift (Sharpe, 1904) (Apus batesi)
Forbes-Watson's Swift (Ripley, 1965) (Apus berliozi)
Bradfield's Swift (Roberts, 1926) (Apus bradfieldi)
White-rumped Swift (Lichtenstein, 1823) (Apus caffer)
Cook's Swift (Harington, 1913) (Apus cooki)
Horus Swift (Heuglin, 1869) (Apus horus)
Blyth's Swift (Blyth, 1845) (Apus leuconyx)
Nyanza Swift (Reichenow, 1887) (Apus niansae)
House Swift (Hodgson, 1837) (Apus nipalensis)
Pacific Swift (Latham, 1801) (Apus pacificus)
Pallid Swift (Shelley, 1870) (Apus pallidus)
Salim Ali's Swift (Lack, 1958) (Apus salimalii)
Fernando Po Swift (Ogilvie-Grant, 1904) (Apus sladeniae)
Plain Swift (Jardine, 1830) (Apus unicolor)
Known fossil species are:
 Apus baranensis (Late Pliocene of SE Europe)
 Apus gaillardi (Middle/Late Miocene of La Grive-St.-Alban, France)
 Apus submelba (Middle Pleistocene of Slovakia)
 Apus wetmorei (Early - Late Pliocene? of SC and SE Europe)
The Miocene "Apus" ignotus is now placed in Procypseloides.
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