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Edible-nest Swiftlet - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: White-nest Swiftlet; Hume's Swiftlet; Andaman Grey-rumped Swiftlet; Brown-rumped Swiftlet; Thunberg's Swiftlet

Taken at an eco-tourism project
Photo by AdamRiley
Gomantong Caves, Borneo, Malaysia, May 2010
Aerodramus fuciphagus


With 12cm a medium-sized Swiftlet, very similar to Black-nest Swiftlet, Mossy-nest Swiftlet and other Swiftlets in its range

  • Glossy black-brown upperparts with slightly greyer rump (not in all subspecies)
  • Brownish grey underparts, palest on throat
  • Deeply forked tail
  • Lightly feathered to naked tarsi


Found in South-east Asia. From the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands to Sumatra, Java, Bali, the Lesser Sundas to Timor and Borneo.
Still common in most of its range but population in heavy decline due to over harvesting of nests.


Like other Aerodramus Swiftles this species is often placed in Collocalia.
German's Swiftlet is often included in this species. Many other Swiftlet species or subspecies of them have been considered conspecific with this bird, eg. Indian Swiftlet. The exact relationships are still poorly understood.


Six subspecies recognized[1]:


Recorded over a wide variety of habitats, forests, clearings, coast, lowlands, mountains and also out at sea.



Feeds on insects, taken in flight. Gregarious and often foraging in big flocks together with other Swiftlets and Swallows.


Breeding season differs through range, but mainly from September to April. Nests in caves in big colonies, often together with Mossy-nest Swiftlet, Glossy Swiftlet and Black-nest Swiftlet. Also frequently recorded breeding in villages and towns. The nest is made purely out of saliva and looks whitish. Capable of echo-location. Lays two eggs. The nests are collected in some caves for the famous Chinese Swallow nest soup.
Resident. Some island population may wander to bigger islands.


  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist

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