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Whitehead's Swiftlet - BirdForum Opus

Aerodramus whiteheadi


With 14cm a large Swiftlet, endemic to the Philippines.

  • Deeply forked tail
  • Bulky head
  • Black brown upperparts with some white rami
  • No paler rump
  • Paler brown underparts
  • Unfeathered tarsi

Origenis is darker overall.


Endemic to the Philippines. Found on Luzon (Mount Data) and Mindanao (Mount Apo).
Restricted range species which may be in risk of habitat loss. Further study urgently needed.


Like other Aerodramus Swiftles this species is often placed in Collocalia.
Has been considered conspecific with Himalayan Swiftlet, Mayr's Swiftlet and Papuan Swiftlet. Described subspecies tsubame seems to be a synonym of the subspecies amelis of Uniform Swiftlet and described subspecies apoensi seems to be synonym with Philippine Swiftlet.
Two subspecies recognised:

  • A.w. whiteheadi on Mount Data (Luzon)
  • A.w. origenis on Mount Apo (Mindanao)


Naturally forested mountains.


Nothing known about food and feeding, probably foraging for insects in flight like other Swiftlets.
Some nests were collected around Mount Apo in July and are believed to belong to this species. They were in a hollow tree and the round nests were made of vegetable matter without saliva.
The species is believed to be resident.
Cleary further study is needed about this bird.

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