The white-throated needle tail, also called the needle tailed swift, or spine tailed swift, is a medium size swift. It is the fastest-flying bird in level flight, being capable of speeds up to 170 km/h. That is 105 mph!
It is an odd animal in appearance. These extremely fast birds have a barrel-shaped torso and very stubby legs which they use to cling onto cliffs. They build their nests in rock crevices, cliffs or hollow trees. They never purposely perch on the ground, spending their lives in the air, snatching insects with their beaks.
These swifts thrive in the rocky hills of central Asia and southern Siberia. This is a migratory bird species, flying south to Australia in during winter months. It has been rarely seen in Western Europe, and has been recorded as far west and north as Great Britain, Norway and Sweden. I suppose a bird this fast doesn’t have many earthly boundary limits.
The white-throated needle tail is similar in size to the alpine swift, but with a heavier barrel-like body. They are black except for a white throat, a white under tail, and a brown back.
The needle-tail swifts get their name from the spiny end to the tail, which is not forked as in their cousins, the Apus swifts.