Alpine Swift
Alpine Swift
Scientific Name 
Tachymarptis melba
Arabic Name 
سمامة الألب
Kuwaiti name 
60.0 cm
22.0 cm
Least Concern


Scarce passage migrant. It occurs in low numbers, mainly during spring, in Kuwait. Travels very long distances to find places with rich aerial insect populations to feed on. This is the largest swift in the region.
Where in Kuwait 
If it is seen, it is generally seen overhead in mixed Hirundine flocks on passage and is very distinctive with its white belly
In the world 
A migratory species that has an extremely large range with a stable population. During the Northern Hemisphere summer months the Alpine swift resides in and around the Mediterranean and the northern Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates, through to western Asia and India. Before the onset of winter, the Alpine swift migrates southwards to southern and eastern Africa. This extraordinary bird spends much of its life on the wing and although it is twice as big as other swifts, this species is an extremely agile bird and a fast, efficient flier due to a wide wingspan and streamlined body.
Local threats 
Indiscriminate shooting, often just as target practice and pesticide