Skip to main content


Apodidae (swifts, swiftlets; class Aves, order Apodiformes) A family of medium to small birds that have small, short bills and a wide gape. They have long, curved, narrow wings, a short tail, often square-ended or spine-tipped, some with white rumps or bellies, and short, weak legs with reversible hallux. They are highly aerial, fast-flying, and insectivorous (the 21 species of Collocalia (swiftlets), of south-east Asia, Australia, and the islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, use echo-location to fly in darkness). Their nests are built on trees, buildings, rocks, and in caves, often using saliva. Apus horus (horus swift) nests in sand burrows. Many authorities do not recognize the genera Hirundapus, Raphidura, Telacanthura, and Zoonavena, including them within the genus Chaetura, eight species of small, bluish-black or brown swifts, with paler throats or rumps, and spine-tipped tails, found in America. There are 12 or more genera in the family, containing about 80 species. Nearly all are tropical, northern-breeding birds migrating to the tropics in winter, but they are found world-wide. The 15 Apus species are found mainly in Africa, but also in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Apodidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . 20 Apr. 2019 <>.

"Apodidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . (April 20, 2019).

"Apodidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved April 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.