From Rio to Sussex



Species Statement for Sussex

Current status in Sussex
Factors affecting species
National SAP
Current Action


Apus apus

The National Species Action Plan as well as the Urban Habitat Action Plan will be used to implement and monitor action for the skylark in Sussex.

The Sussex Species Statement for the Swift has not yet been written.

The following information was compiled by West Sussex County Council.

Swifts are a familiar part of an English summer, their characteristic screaming calls being heard in our towns and villages from May onwards. However, there is growing concern that Swift populations are in rapid decline due to modern building methods and better maintenance excluding them from their usual nesting places in roofs. As a result, a partnership, known as "Concern for Swifts", has been formed to raise awareness and promote conservation measures for the Swift nationally.
Although often confused with Swallows and House Martins, Swifts are readily identified being almost completely black with large, sickle-shaped wings. These are truly remarkable birds which spend the majority of their 15 or more year life airborne, feeding and even sleeping on the wing. On warm summer evenings they form screaming parties which wheel around church towers and rooftops.

West Sussex County Council is actively involved in Swift conservation and is believed to be the first local authority in the UK to have installed special German-made concrete Swift nesting bricks. To date, Swift nesting bricks have been installed in a range of building developments in West Sussex, including Horsham Library, East Pallant House in Chichester (the offices of Chichester District Council), a new police custody centre in Chichester and an office block in Billingshurst.

At East Pallant House offices of Chichester District Council Planning Department, Swift nest boxes were incorporated in the roadside frontage of the new building in September 2001.

Opportunities to incorporate nature conservation enhancements in urban developments are rare. Providing nest sites for Swifts in building works meets an important objective of the developing local Species Action Plan for the Swift, and also features in the Sussex Urban Habitat Action Plan.

Swift nesting bricks are widely used on the Continent, especially in Amsterdam and Germany.
They are made of concrete and designed to be built into walls of buildings. The outer face of the brick can be rendered, painted or faced with brick or tiles so as to blend in with the building. Unless shaded by the eaves, south facing aspects should generally be avoided. Swift bricks can be positioned anywhere on a building above about 4m provided the flight path to the nest is not obscured by trees or other buildings. Swifts nest in colonies and thus a number (say 6-12 bricks should be considered per building). There are cost implications. However, there are environmental and educational benefits which might appeal to schools, libraries and other organisations/developers. Swift bricks are manufactured by Schwegler in Germany and available in the UK, costing about £22 each. Dimensions of Swift bricks: 260mm x 220mm x 180mm high. Weight: 8.8kg.
Supplier of Swift bricks: Jacobi Jayne & Company, Wealden Forest Park, Herne Common, Canterbury, Kent CT6 7LQ Tel. 01227 714314 Fax: 01227 719235

e-mail: enquiries@jacobijayne.com Website: www.jacobijayne.com
Nestboxes could play an important role in conserving our Swifts by offsetting the loss of nest sites due to modern building methods and better maintenance. In addition to Swift bricks, various other nestbox designs are available, suitable for fixing to external walls or installing within a loft space. We hope that the provision of nest boxes/bricks will secure the long-term future of Swift colonies in towns and villages across West Sussex.


Links to other swift web sites:

The Common Swift web page:

The Virtual Magazine of the Common Swift:

Swifts in Portsmouth:

London's Swifts:http://www.londons-swifts.org.uk/

Swallows, Martins & Swifts worldwide: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Swallows-Martins-Swifts-Worldwide/
This site is dedicated to discussing and disseminating inforamtion on these species.


References [top]

Sussex Ornithological Society. (1996) Birds of Sussex ed. Paul James
Shrubb (1979) The Birds of Sussex - their present status
The State of the UK's Birds (2000 & 2001)


Standing Fresh Water HAP
  Standing Fresh Water HAP



Standing Fresh Water HAP