Take part in Swift Mapper

Each year, swifts fly from Africa to the UK to breed, but with numbers plummeting they desperately need your help.

In just 20 years, more than half of our swifts have vanished and we believe that the loss of nest sites in the roofs of buildings is at least partly responsible.  By using Swift Mapper, you’ll help locate breeding hotspots for swifts and protect their homes.

Go to Swift Mapper

Swifts pair for life and meet up at the same nest site in the UK each spring – usually in gaps under roof tiles and in the eaves of buildings. But as more and more old buildings are demolished or renovated, many swifts are returning to discover their nest site is gone.

Together with our partners Action for Swifts, Natural Apptitude, Swift Conservation and the Swifts Local Network we’ve developed Swift Mapper; a web-based mapping system and mobile app.

By telling us where you see nesting swifts you’ll help to build a picture of where swift nest sites need to be protected and where it would be best to provide new nest sites.

If you’re having trouble downloading the mobile app, try these tips from the  App Store or Google Play. Make sure you also read our Swift Mapper FAQs

Use online or download arrow-down-simple-blue arrow-down-simple-blue

How to get involved

We’d like to know where you’ve seen groups of screaming swifts or swift nest sites anywhere in the UK. Please follow all current government guidelines on movement and social distancing that are applicable to whichever part of the UK you are in, when using Swift Mapper.

If you’ve sent in records before, thank you. Please tell us what’s happening again this year – even if swifts are absent from nest sites they used previously – as it’s important to know if breeding colonies are stable. 

What to look for
Watch out for groups of swifts flying fast at roof height, often screaming loudly – this means they’re breeding nearby. Swifts nest in holes, so we’d also like to know if you see swifts entering holes in buildings. 

Please don’t report swifts flying high in the sky, feeding over water or fields, or away from settlements on Swift Mapper. These birds could have travelled long distances and may not be local breeding birds. Please use BirdTrack instead, if you would like to record these sightings.

Give swifts a home

Follow our simple step-by-step instructions for making a swift nest box and you can provide a safe and much-needed place for these wonderful birds to set up home.


Swifts over rooftops

Spot the difference

At first glance swifts, swallows and martins look very similar, but with the help of our handy ID guide you’ll be able to tell the difference in no time.