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Marquesan Swiftlet - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Marquesas Swiftlet

Aerodramus ocistus


With 11cm a small Swiftlet, somehow intermediate between Atiu Swiftlet and Tahiti Swiftlet.

  • Long, forked tail
  • Dark-brown upperparts with grey rump
  • Grey-brown underparts


Endemic to the Marquesas in French Polynesia in the South Pacific.
Common on most islands, but probably suffering from predation of introduced Common Myna.


Like other Aerodramus Swiftles this species is often placed in Collocalia.
Some authors treat this species as conspecific with Atiu Swiftlet and Tahiti Swiftlet or as forming a superspecies with them. Some authors are merging this bird with Tahiti Swiftlet.


Clements recognizes these subspecies[1]:

  • A.o. ocistus in the Northern Marquesas (Eiao, Nuku Hiva and Ua Huka)
  • A.o. gilliardi in the Southern Marquesas (Ua Pu, Hiva Oa and Tahuata)


Found over rocky valleys and wet forest.


Feeds on insects, taken in flight. Gregarious and often in big flocks, foraging slowly through forest canopy.

Nest in October in colonies, nesting either in shallow depressions under overhanging rocks and coastal cliffs or caves. The nest is of vegetable matters hold together with saliva. Capable of echolocation.



  1. Clements, J. F., P. C. Rasmussen, T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, A. Spencer, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2023. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2023. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/

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