What Do Swifts Eat?

In 2010 samples of swift chick droppings were sent away for analysis to find out what insects adult swifts were feeding to their chicks. It must be assumed the adults are feeding on the same insect species. The droppings were collected from below nests. These were fresh but dried by the sun. Lough Neagh is 1 mile / 1.5km from this colony. Thanks goes to Marian James for taking the time to analyse the insect fragments to produce this amazing list of insects.

Country swifts living beside Lough Neagh my house 1 mile / 1.6km from the shore of Lough Neagh

Chironomids 25.7% - non biting midges e.g. Lough Neagh fly
Aphids 18.0% - greenfly, blackfly
Psyllids 11.6% - sap sucking insects
Lonchoptera 11.5% - small spear-winged flies
Coleoptera 11.1% - water beetles
Phoridae 0.8% - hump-backed flies (resembling fruit flies)
Sciaridae 0.7% - fungus gnats
Dolichopodidae 0.4% - long-legged flies
Muscids / Calliphorids 0.4% - house / stable / blow flies
Scathophagidae 0.3% - dung flies
Hemiptera 2.1% - bugs
Tipulid 0.1% - craneflies

with traces of
Hymenoptera - small solitary wasps
Coccinellidae - 11 spot ladybird

This will be repeated in 2015


City swifts living in the Crescent Arts Centre - 20km / 12 miles from Lough Neagh

Diptera (S.O.Nematocera) Chironomidae (non-biting midges) 16.8%
Hemiptera (true bugs) No further classification 12.0%
Diptera (S.O. Cyclorrhapha) Scathophagidae (dung flies) 11.8%
Hemiptera (true bugs) Aphidae (aphids) 10.9%
Hymenoptera (wasps) Ichneumonidae 7.6%
Diptera (S.O. Cyclorrhapha) Muscidae/Calliphoridae 7.4%
Hemiptera (true bugs) Psyllidae (jumping plant lice) 7.3%
Diptera (S.O. Cyclorrhapha) Lonchopteridae  6.8%
Hymenoptera (wasps) Platygasterodae 4.6%
Coleoptera (beetles) Scarabaeidae (chafers) 3.3%
Diptera (S.O. Cyclorrhapha) Sciomyzidae 1.7%
Diptera (S.O.Nematocera) Tipulidae (craneflies) 1.7%
Coleoptera (beetles) No further classification 1.6%
Lepidoptera (moths) No further classification 0.9%
Coleoptera (beetles) Coccinellidae (ladybirds) 0.9%
Hymenoptera (wasps) Cynapidae (gall wasps) 0.9%
Hemiptera (true bugs) Delphacidae (plant hoppers) 0.9%
Hymenoptera (wasps) No further classification 0.8%
Diptera (S.O. Cyclorrhapha) Phoridae 0.6%
Diptera (S.O. Cyclorrhapha) No further classification 0.6%
Coleoptera (beetles) Hydroptilidae (water beetles) 0.6%
Coleoptera (beetles) Dytiscidae (water beetles) 0.3%