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Scarce Swift - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Chapin's Swift
Includes Schouteden's Swift (AKA Congo Swift)

Schoutedenapus myoptilus


A small African Swift, resembling the Asian Aerodramus Swiftlets. 17cm.

  • Deeply forked, long tail
  • Bulbous head and thin wings
  • Dark grey-brown upperparts
  • Pale grey chin
  • Underparts (apart from chin) mid to dark brown


The subspecies chapini is the darkest, poenis intermediate and myoptilus the palest.


Patchily distributed in Africa. Known from Bioko Island, Eastern Zaire, Rwanda, Uganda and elswhere in East Africa from Zimbabwe north to Ethiopia.
In some parts of its range very common, in others scarce and only local. Not globally threatened.


Relationship to other Swifts uncertain. The subspecies poensis was considered to be a subspecies of Plain Swift. Schouteden's Swift was considered a full species but is currently considered juvenile or immature birds of subspecies chapini.


Three subspecies are recognized[1]:


A highland species, prefering gorges, waterfalls and evergreen forest. Found from 500m up to 2500m.


Feeds on insects, taken in flight. Highly gregarious, feeding in big flocks, sometimes very high up.
It builds its nests in fissures in inaccessible cliffs. As the nestsites are incaccessible no nests are recorded yet, size of clutch also unknown. Breeding season differs through range.
A resident species but some local wandering seems to occur.

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.