Birda Logo
loading...

Edible-nest Swiftlet

Aerodramus fuciphagus

The Edible-nest Swiftlet, also known as the White-nest Swiftlet, is a small, enigmatic bird belonging to the swift family. With a body length of approximately 14 cm (5.5 inches), it is a medium-sized swiftlet, characterized by its blackish-brown upperparts and a variable underpart coloration ranging from white to blackish-brown. The tail is short with a subtle notch, and the bird's bill and feet are black. Notably, the legs are very short, with tarsi that are either unfeathered or lightly feathered. This swiftlet has a distinctive flight pattern, with long, narrow wings that form a crescent shape when in motion.

Identification Tips

When observing the Edible-nest Swiftlet, look for its slender body and swept-back wings that give it a crescent silhouette in flight. The bird weighs between 15 to 18 grams and can be identified by its blackish-brown upperparts and varying shades of underparts. Subspecies variations include A. f. micans, which is paler and greyer, and A. f. vestitus, which is darker with a less conspicuously paler rump.

Habitat

These swiftlets are found in a range of habitats from coastal regions to mountainous areas, up to 2,800 meters above sea level in places like Sumatra and Borneo. They are typically seen above forests and open country, as well as forest edges.

Distribution

The Edible-nest Swiftlet has a wide but fragmented distribution across Southeast Asia, including the Andaman Islands, the coasts of Southeast Asia, and the Indonesian Archipelago.

Behaviour

The Edible-nest Swiftlet is an aerial species, spending most of its life on the wing. It feeds on flying insects captured mid-flight and is known to drink while flying. These birds often form large flocks, sometimes mingling with other swiftlet and swallow species. They breed in colonies, preferring coastal limestone caves, rock crevices, cliffs, or even buildings to construct their unique nests.

Song & Calls

At breeding sites, the Edible-nest Swiftlet emits high-pitched, burbling calls. Additionally, it uses a rattling call for echolocation, which is crucial for navigating and locating nesting sites within the darkness of caves.

Breeding

The breeding behavior of the Edible-nest Swiftlet involves building bracket-shaped nests on vertical surfaces using layers of hardened saliva. These white, translucent nests typically measure about 6 cm across and weigh around 14 grams. The species lays two white, oval, non-glossy eggs per breeding attempt.

Similar Species

Germain's Swiftlet was once considered conspecific with the Edible-nest Swiftlet but is now often recognized as a separate species. It can be distinguished by its range and some subtle morphological differences.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Edible-nest Swiftlet consists primarily of flying insects. These insects are adeptly caught while the swiftlet is in flight.

Conservation status

The Edible-nest Swiftlet is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. However, some populations, such as those in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, are under threat due to extensive harvesting for their nests, which are highly valued as a delicacy in Chinese cuisine. Efforts to create artificial bird houses for nest farming are increasing, which may help alleviate pressure on wild populations.

App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Edible-nest Swiftlets on Birda

Photos
Sightings

More Swifts

A photo of a Himalayan Swiftlet (Aerodramus brevirostris)

Himalayan Swiftlet

Aerodramus brevirostris
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Foxgirl100
Great app for beginner twitchers
I’ve had a passion of photographing birds for a long time now but have only just gotten into proper birdwatching, and this app is brilliant for those just getting started. There is a great sense of community among users and the app is very easy to use and professional. Awesome app altogether
Chudbond
Love Birda
I love this app. It really encourages you to log your sightings and the community is friendly and helpful.
Erna M
I really like Birda
I really like Birda. I also use other birding apps and have Birda with E-bird going at the same time.
Alice J
Awesome Birding Community
I absolutely love the community aspect of this app. The app is so user friendly and has fun interactive challenges to get you out birding. I’ve tried others but since I’ve started using Birda I’ve not gone back!
Emma L
App got me interested in birding!
Super friendly community <3 This app got me interested in birding! It teaches me cool stuff and its super friendly, and fun :) The species guide is really developing my knowledge, and i love seeing cool new birds from round the world!
Safira V
Birding and wellbeing app
Birda is an excellent platform to share your love of Birding and is a great tool of encouragement for a Birding Beginner like me. Birda has a very kind and supportive community of Birding enthusiasts. For me BIRDA is not only a BIRDING but also a WELLBEING App.
Paul F
Very good database
Highly recommend. It great that this app shows you male Vs female variations when posting. Very good database I'm really impressed.
778
Great bird recording
For a while I’ve been trying to find an app to easily record bird lists and day out and struggled to find one that I like. Birda is great for this, straightforward and a great community!
David C
Very knowledgeable group
Nice friendly birding community. Very knowledgeable group with a willingness to help.
Unbridled Discoveries
Great app for bird lovers
I love this app! It’s a wonderful way to track birding sessions, and also connect you with fellow birders. I also really like the unidentified bird section, it’s a great community tool to help figure out what a never-before-seen bird is!
As featured in
Connect with nature,
Find your flock
Download Birda - QR Code
© 2024 All rights reserved