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Pacific Swift - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Fork-tailed Swift

Photo by Francksan
Hokkaido, Japan
Apus pacificus


Photo by Rob Hutchinson
Mount Dos Cuernos, Sierra Madre Mountains, Luzon, Philippines, March 2008

Medium large, with deeply forked tail, sexes similar, races differ by shade of color. Upperparts blackish brown with a slight greenish gloss, rump and sides to rump white; chin and throat white; rest of underparts black with feathers tipped white creating a scaly effect. Bill and legs black; eye brown.

Similar Species

Various other white-rumped swifts. See the following for a detailed comparison: Identifying small white-rumped swifts.


Breeds in Siberia to Kamchatka, China, Japan and Taiwan. Migrates south to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, New Guinea, Australia and Tasmania.
Vagrants have been recorded in the european part of Russia, in Britain, Alaska and on Macquarie Island.
Common in most of its range and not globally threatened.


Was formerly considered conspecific with Blyth's Swift, Cook's Swift and Salim Ali's Swift.


Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:


Preferred habitats include mountains and human habitations, usually near water.


Highly gregarious, high flying and fast, this swift can be found flying over towns and sea coasts as well as forested mountains.


Feeds on various insects, taken in flight.


Breeds in spring, exact time differing over range, in Japan from June to August. Nests in colonies on cliff walls, building a half-cup, made with plant parts and agglutinated together with saliva. Lays 1 to 3 eggs.


A long-distance migrant, wintering mainly in Indonesia and Australia.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2011. IOC World Bird Names (version 2.10). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.

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