The Egyptian Swift Pigeon is so named because of its resemblance to the Egyptian Swift. It has a short beak and long wings, along with a long tail.
It is classed as a flying pigeon in the US and a utility pigeon in Europe and elsewhere.
Egyptian Swift Pigeon Origins
The Egyptian Swift Pigeon standards existed as early as the 18th century when local neighbourhoods would choose veteran pigeon fanciers and breeders to judge them.
The journal, Mekkatube-Duerigen (1886), mentions the birds, and modern incarnations are noted in 1981 by leading pigeon geneticist and researcher, Dr W.F. Hollander.
Hollander also noted down the colours and distinguishing characteristics of 12 types of Egyptian Swift Pigeons.
In 1938, Mustafa Gahnem’s book led to an updated set of standards.
The birds as we see them now are believed to have been sketched in the 18th century, where some varieties are recognizable as still existing today.
Modern Egyptian Swift pigeons come in a wide number of varieties due to selective breeding, most of which occurred in Egypt, and then post 1980s, in the United Kingdom.
Egyptian Swift Appearance
The Egyptian Swift Pigeon is a medium to large pigeon and typically weighs around 450 grams.
There is a wide variety of colours these birds may show.
The most commonly seen colour types are a full body of one colour, and then wings showing another (as shown below).
Some have long necks, some are one colour with a band of another colour on their neck. Blocks of colour are not uncommon either.
The birds are often separated into show birds and flying birds, though there has been considerable crossing of the two groups, which is why judging the birds by head size has become difficult.
Still, the ultimate goal of breeding a flying bird is to have it fly very well.
Undesirable traits include loose feathers, an overly large head, and birds that cannot fly at all.
Brittle feathers are undesirable, and birds with crests are undesirable unless they are part of the white tail group.
Some people also feel that frills are undesirable when breeding pigeons.
They Do Not Enjoy Cold Weather
Though you should probably be fortifying your enclosures against cold weather and frost anyway, take particular care to keep things ventilated, but warm for your Egyptian Swift pigeons.
On a similar note, they do not enjoy very hot weather in enclosed spaces, but handle hot weather pretty well if they are allowed to roam free, especially if there is water and a place for shade if things get super hot.
If you decide to keep these pigeons as pets make sure you keep them indoors, they thrive in indoor climates and will adopt a calm and relaxed demeanour if they are normalised to humans from an early age.
Breeding The Egyptian Swift
If you take into account their aversion to cold weather, then breeding these birds is pretty similar to most other domestic and show pigeons.
The hardest part is identifying the types of pigeons, and matching them up with suitable partners.
Though a little experimentation is encouraged, most of the Egyptian Swift birds have very predictable breeding results.
If you breed two that look the same, their offspring are often very similar, with just a few differences when it comes to curly feathers in places like the neck.
Do not have them breed more than three times per year because the stress on the pigeons will become overwhelming.
Breeding once per year is recommended for amateurs, especially if you are unsure of the end results of each breeding session.
Egyptian Swift Character
As a flying bird, they are at their best when they are outdoors in unrestricted areas.
With plenty of space they are mostly amenable birds.
Most of them are pretty good at avoiding predators and dangers, but they do better in groups rather than on their own.
They make reasonable pets, while they are not overly affectionate, neither are they aggressive or skittish.
Some people teach them tricks, often including methods by which they can let them out during the day and have them return in the evening for their food.
Many show pigeons and flying pigeons are okay being handled if they are introduced to humans at an early age, and if they are tamed.
The same is true with show boxes if you introduce them gradually to the bird over a period of weeks.
They are smart enough to solve simple problems and puzzles, which includes being smart enough to find places to hide in your house, so if you think your house pigeon has gone missing, check under tables and behind your curtains!