• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Waterfall Swift - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Dave B
Danum Valley Field Centre, Sabah, East Malaysia, May 2007

Alternative name: Giant Swiftlet

Hydrochous gigas


A large Collocalia-type Swiftlet, could be mistaken for House Swift in silhouette, but wing shape distinctly different, with no "bulge" on the inner primaries or obvious division between the primaries and secondaries. All dark with a slightly paler throat and underside of the remiges. In gliding flight wings are held slightly below the horizontal, unlike all other Swiftlets, which hold them horizontal. Does not "rock" from side to side like other Swiftlets.


Poorly known. Definitly breeds in W. Java and on Mt. Kinabalu on Borneo. Has been recorded from Sumatra ( Padong Highlands ), mainland Malaysia ( Fraser's Hill ), Sarawak ( Kuching area ) and Sabah ( Kinabalu, Sandakan and Gomantong )


Uncertain affinities within the Swifts. Sometimes merged with Aerodramus in Collocalia, other authorities think that this species is not closely related to the Collocalia Swiftlets.


In mountainous rainforest around waterfalls.


Gregarious, often seen in flocks, sometimes with Cave Swiftlets or Brown-backed Needletails. Feeds on various insects, taken in flight, usually foraging at dawn or dusk.
Breeding recorded in April in Malaysia and from October to January on Java. Builds a nest at waterfall cliffs, lays usually one egg. Not capable of echolocation.
Believed to be a resident species, but further study needed.

External Links