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Mossy-nest Swiftlet - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Mossy Swiftlet, Sunda Swiftlet

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


A medium sized Swiftlet (12cm), very similar to Edible-nest Swiftlet and Black-nest Swiftlet.

  • Uniform black-brown upperparts
  • Uniform pale brown underparts
  • Tail shallowly forked

From other Swiftlets in its range only identifiable in hand or at nest!


Found in South-east Asia on N Borneo (possibly also in the south), Java, W Sumatra and some small islands off Borneo and Sumatra.
Locally common or abundant. True status in some parts uncertain due to identification problems. One record from the Philippines.


Like other Aerodramus Swiftles this species is often placed in Collocalia.
Formerly considered conspecific with Uniform Swiftlet, Palau Swiftlet, Guam Swiftlet and Caroline Swiftlet. The five species form now a superspecies. Two subspecies of Uniform Swiftlet on Sulawesi are sometimes placed in this species.


Four subspecies recognized[1]:


Found over different habitat around breeding caves. Feeds close at nest, prefering primary forest.


Gregarious and often seen with other Swiftlets or Swifts.

Capable of echo-location.


Feeds on insects, taken in flight. Feeds at lower levels and closer to nest than Black-nest Swiftlet. Most active during dawn or dusk.


Nests colonially in caves, often together with Black-nest Swiftlet. Nest built with vegetable matter and held together with little transparent saliva, so nest is soft and moist. Lays two eggs.
Thought to be resident.


  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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