Area torn. Its main part is located from the Vasyugan valley (tributary of the Ob) to the east to the coast of the Sea of Japan. To the north in Western Siberia up to the 59th parallel, in the Yenisei basin, in the Lena and Aldan basins up to the 58th parallel, to the mouth of the Amur. The second part is south to northern and northeastern Altai, northern Mongolia, northern and northeastern China, and the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. The southern slope of the Himalayas from Kashmir east to Sichuan and Yunnan, northern Burma, presumably northern Laos.
Islands: Sakhalin, Japanese - from Hokkaido south to Honshu, Taiwan, presumably southern Kuril.
The spiny-tailed swift hibernates in eastern and southeastern Australia, New Zealand and about. Macquarie. Accidental flights to the Seychelles and British Isles and Western Europe are known.
The nature of the stay. The needle-tailed swift is partly a migratory bird. The sedentary race lives in the Himalayas and southern China. Arrival to nesting sites occurs in May, and departure for wintering - in late September - early October. Birds fly separately or in small groups.
Number... It is found in significant numbers in the Far East and Sakhalin.
Biotope... Zones of the middle and southern taiga. The thorn-tailed swift prefers sparse old forests and burnt-out forests (with an abundance of dead and hollow trees), rises to the mountains to a height of 1500 m, in some places much higher. Readily settles near water bodies.
Variability manifests itself in the variation of details of the color of the plumage and in the overall size.
Reproduction... The mating season begins in late May - mid June. The needle-tailed swift nests in the crevices of rocks, in the hollows of thick trees that go out into open spaces - forest edges, swamps, clearings. Likes to settle on burnt-out places - in niches of high stumps, half-hollows of broken and burnt trunks. The holes of the tap holes in the hollows are 10x14 and 15x18 cm, the depth of the hollows is up to 1 m. The nest is half a cup, twisted from thin twigs and straw, which is cemented with the saliva of birds.
In clutch there are 4 to 6 white eggs. Incubation begins with the first egg and lasts up to 21 days (according to other sources - up to 40 days). Both parents hatch eggs. Adult birds do not carry shells and droppings of chicks from their nests. Chicks are born naked and blind, fledge at the age of 40-42 days.
At the end of July, young swifts already leave the nest. The brood is kept in flight in a dense flock.
Enemies... In Australia, needle-tailed swifts are hunted by Australian swamp harriers (Circus approximans), Australian hobbyists (Falco longipennis), peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus), barking needle-legged owls (Ninox connivens), sometimes laughing kookabaras (Dacelo novaeguineae).
Food... Thorn-tailed swifts eat a huge number of insects (termites, beetles, ants, flies, bumblebees, ladybugs, ground beetles, wasps and bees, wasps, sawflies, bug bugs, moths, locusts, grasshoppers, cicadas) and spiders, preying them mainly on the fly in the rising currents of warm air. Swifts often hunt near trees, often hitting vegetation to scare away prey, fly over forest edges, and stay above fields and water bodies. They also drink in flight.
Dimensions, weight and structure. Weight 109-140 g. Wings are long, sickle-shaped, wings are 19.8-22 cm, wingspan is up to 48-53 cm.The tail is short, without notch, square, each tail feather has a sharp protruding needle in the middle (3-5 mm) ... On very short legs, 3 toes are directed forward, and one is directed backward, the tarsus is not feathered.
Coloration... The throat and undertail are white. There are two white spots on the forehead, which can merge into one. The back is clay-gray. The chest and abdomen are dark brown. Wings and tail with blue or dark green sheen, black. The beak is black, the iris is black-brown, the legs are dark gray, sometimes with a pinkish tint.
Differences... Unlike the white-bellied swift, the spiny-tailed belly is dark, it differs from other swifts in larger sizes.