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Mountain Swiftlet - BirdForum Opus

Aerodramus hirundinaceus

Identification

With 12cm a medium sized Swiftlet, very similar to sympatric Uniform Swiftlet.

  • Uniform dark brown upperparts
  • Underparts pale grey
  • Moderately forked tail
  • In hand differs from Uniform Swiftlet by feathered tarsi, tiny and more decurved bill and white rami of back.

Distribution

Endemic to New Guinea. There from Irian Jaya (Indonesia) over the highlands to Papua New Guinea.
Locally common.

Taxonomy

Forms a superspecies with Philippine Swiftlet, Moluccan Swiftlet, White-rumped Swiftlet and Australian Swiftlet. Also considered to be conspecific with Uniform Swiftlet. Relationsships in this group are still poorly understood.
Like other Aerodramus Swiftles this species is often placed in Collocalia.
Three subspecies recognized:

  • A.h. hirundinaceus in most New Guinea
  • A.h. baru on Yapen Island
  • A.h. excelsus in Snow Mountains and Carstenz peaks, Irian Jaya.

Habitat

Wide range of habitat, but prefers highland forest up to 4000m. Low numbers recorded over moist lowland forest.

Behaviour

Takes insects in flight. Highly gregarious and often seen with other Swifts.
Colonial breeder in caves. Builds a bulky nest made with moss, ferns, grass with no or little saliva used. Some nest recorded on cave floor. Lays one egg.
Nomadic movements.

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