Saturday, January 11, 2014

Arrow of the sky, the Asian Palm Swift!

At evenings, whenever I walked on the outskirts of my hometown, I used to see small birds flying on the sky in darts here and there. I had wondered in my school days whether they are insects, bats or birds. These arrow like flying things are only birds known as Asian Palm Swifts (Cypsiurus balasiensis, 'Panaimara ulavaran' in Tamil).
They are peculiar in that they are not seen walking on the ground or perching on the trees! They cling on any vertical surface like walls and tree trunks holding with their weak short legs!

They are pale brown small birds having a slender body and a long forked tail. One can hear them utter a shrill cry while they fly. They catch insects on their flights; insects are their sole diet. They nest on the underside of palm leaf; their flat nest is made of feathers and fibres glued to the leaf with their saliva. 

 Female lays 2 to 3 eggs, glues them to the nest, again, with its saliva. After incubation, these tiny eggs hatch in 3 weeks and fly out of nest in 6 weeks.
This Palm swift is a wonder bird that spends most of its lifetime on the air!

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