Palm swifts

Palm swifts (Cypsiurus) belong to the swifts family (Apodidae), a swift-like squad.

External signs of a palm swift

Palm swift in body size resembles a sparrow, the body length of an adult bird is 15 cm. Weight is about 14 grams. The physique is elegant.

Palm Swifts (Cypsiurus)

The color of the plumage is light brown. Distinctive features are narrow, long, sickle-shaped wings and a forked tail. The head is brown, the throat is gray. The beak is black. Legs are short, purple with sharp claws. They are necessary to keep the bird upright. Palm swifts in the oral cavity have numerous salivary glands that secrete the sticky substance needed to build the nest.

Male and female individuals have the same plumage color.

Young birds differ from adults by their short tail.

Palm african swift

Palm African Swift (Cypsiurus parvus) is found throughout the south of the African continent from the Sahara, except for desert areas. The usual view of the open plains and savannahs, an urban area with scattered landings of palm trees. It inhabits places up to 1100 meters above sea level. The African palm swift prefers Borassus palms and often flies in search of plants that grow along rivers and ponds. Sometimes swifts settle on coconut palms in settlements.

Palm african swift

Distributed in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Chad. It lives on the islands of the Gulf of Guinea, Comoros and Madagascar. It is found in the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula. The range extends north to northern Namibia, and continues in northern and eastern Botswana, Zimbabwe, and eastern South Africa.

Missing in Djibouti. Rarely flies to South Egypt.

Palm asian swift

The Asian palm swift (Cypsiurus balasiensis) is found on open plains among a dense shrub. The hilly area lives at an altitude of about 1,500 meters above sea level, appears in the urban area. The habitat includes India and Sri Lanka. The range stretched east to Southwest China. Continues in Southeast Asia and includes the islands of Sumatra, Bali, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi and the Philippines.

Palm asian swift

Features of palm swift behavior

Palm swifts gather in numerous flocks and perch on trees. Birds also feed in whole groups, catch insects not high from the surface of the earth, usually at the level of tree crowns. Palm swifts do not sit on the ground for relaxation. They have too long wings and short legs, so the birds cannot push off the ground and make a complete flap to rise into the air.

Palm Swift Nutrition

Palm swifts feed almost exclusively on flying insects. They usually hunt a little higher than the forest canopy. Birds often feed in schools, swallow their prey on the fly. Termites, bugs, beetles, ants predominate in the diet.

Palm swifts feed almost exclusively on flying insects

Propagation of a palm swift

Palm swifts - a monogamous species of birds. They nest in pairs or form colonies encircling up to 100 nesting pairs. A female and a male take part in the construction of the nest. The building material is small feathers, detritus, plant fluff glued together with saliva. The nest looks like a small flat cup, and is mounted on the vertical side of a palm leaf. Birds can also nest in buildings or bridges.

In the clutch there are 1-2 eggs that the female glues to the bottom of the nest with a sticky secret.

The legs of the palm swifts are ideal for holding on a steep surface, thanks to the specially located fingers.

Both adult birds incubate masonry for 18-22 days. Palm swift can "sit" only one egg, attached to the side of it, while the bird clings to the vertical plate of a constantly swaying palm leaf. During incubation, the palm swift is held upright and does not fall even during strong winds when the wind tears off the roofs of huts.

Palm Swift in the nest

The chicks emerging from the eggs first cling to their swinging nest and do not release their claws. In this case, the chest is turned to the sheet, and the head is directed upwards. Nesting type chicks, but soon covered with down. They hang in this position until they lean and can fly. Male and female feed the chicks. They catch prey on the fly and glue insects together with saliva into a lump, then fly to the nest and give food to the chicks. Young palm swifts become independent in 29-33.

Subspecies and Distribution

  • Subspecies C. b. balasiensis spreads over most of the Indian subcontinent, including the northern Himalayas, northeast India (Assam hills), Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  • C. b. infumatus is found in India (Assam hills). The habitat passes through Hainan and Southeast Asia to the Malacca Peninsula, Borneo and Sumatra. Palm swifts of this subspecies are distinguished by a darker color of plumage than other subspecies. The birds have wings and a blue tail - a blackish beautiful shade. The tail is wide and short, the tail fork is less deep. Young birds with much less distinct pale borders on the wings and tail.
  • Subspecies C. b. bartelsorum inhabits Java and Bali, C. b. pallidior is distributed in the Philippines.
Palm swift nest and masonry

Palm Swift Conservation Status

Palm swifts do not pose a threat to their numbers. Locally quite common at low density. May be absent in places where palm planting is reduced. Over the past 60-70 years, the number of birds is allegedly growing. The population remains stable as there is no evidence of any decline or significant threats.

The area occupied by coconut plantations is constantly increasing, so the distribution of palm swifts, which nest on the leaves of palm trees, is naturally growing.

In northern Thailand, where coconut palms belong to the cultural landscape, palm swifts settle in these plantings. In the Philippines, swifts appear near human settlements, where the local population uses coconut palm leaves to cover the roofs of huts. Birds even nest on palm branches lying on the roof.

In some provinces of Burma, where coconut palms rarely grow, palm swifts nest in rural buildings.


Watch the video: African Palm Swifts entering palm (February 2020).

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