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Asian Palm Swift - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies infumatus
Photo by SeeToh
Marymount Terrace, Singapore, February 2016

Includes: Eastern Palm Swift

Cypsiurus balasiensis


13 cm (5 in). A small swift with extremely long and narrow wings and tail.

  • body brownish, darkest on crown, rump slightly paler
  • wings thin and very long
  • tail-streamers long and narrow (often held folded)

Juveniles are paler and have slightly shorter tail-streamers.


Southeast Asia: Indian Subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Common and locally abundant. Not globally threatened.


Forms a superspecies with the African Palm Swift Cypsiurus parvus and was also formerly lumped with this species.

Subspecies bartelsorum. infumatus and pallidor may be elevated as "Eastern Palm Swift", C. infumatus given apparent distinctness in sympatry with balasiensis in North East India (references [2])


Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:


Occurs wherever fan and betelnut palms are present. Cities, towns, cultivated area, rarer in forested areas. Up to 1500m.



A resident species.


Feeds on insects, eg. flying ants, termites and beetles. Highly gregarious, often found in foraging in mixed flocks with Little Swifts.


Breeds all year round with local peaks. Nest built in palm fronds, sometimes in thatched roofs, usually small groups breeding together. The nest is a tiny half-cup, attached on three sides to palm leaves. The two eggs are not glued to nest as in African Palm Swift.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Eaton, JA, B van Balen, NW Brickle, FE Rheindt 2021. Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago (Greater Sundas and Wallacea), Second Edition. Lynx Editions. ISBN978-84-16728-44-2

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.