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African Palm Swift - BirdForum Opus

Photo by xentox
Liberia, September 2005
Cypsiurus parvus


Length 15-16 cm, mass 10-18 g. Pale brown. Slender, with long swept-back wings, a long and deeply forked tail, and very short legs which they use only for clinging to vertical surfaces.


Sub-Saharan Africa and south-western Arabia
Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegambia, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Angola

Subspecies myochrous
Photo by Valéry Schollaert
Lukuba Island Lodge, Lake Victoria, Tanzania September 2010

Eastern Africa: Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, eSwatini
African Islands: Gulf of Guinea Islands, Bioko (Fernando Po), Sao Tome, Principe
Middle East: Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia, Yemen



There are eight subspecies:

  • C. p. parvus
  • C. p. brachypterus
  • C. p. myochrous
  • C. p. laemostigma
  • C. p. hyphaenes
  • C. p. celer


Open country, strongly associated with oil palms and other palm trees.


They spend most of their lives in the air.


They build a nest of down and feather which is attached by saliva to the underside of a palm leaf. The clutch consists of 2 eggs.


The diet includes insects which are aerially hawked.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase

Recommended Citation

External Links

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