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Species Guide

Dark-rumped Swift

Apus acuticauda

The Dark-rumped Swift, known scientifically as Apus acuticauda, is a swift belonging to the family Apodidae. This avian species is characterized by its distinctive dark rump, which contrasts with the rest of its plumage.

Identification Tips

When observing the Dark-rumped Swift, look for its swift-like silhouette with a notably darker patch on the lower back, which is the defining feature that gives this bird its name.


The natural habitat of the Dark-rumped Swift is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, where it can be seen darting through the canopy.


This swift is native to Bhutan and Northeast India, with occasional sightings reported in Thailand, where it is considered a vagrant.


As with other swifts, the Dark-rumped Swift is an aerial specialist, spending much of its life on the wing, engaged in the pursuit of insects.

Conservation status

The Dark-rumped Swift is currently classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The primary threat facing this species is habitat loss, which is impacting its forested environments.

Similar Species

While in flight, swifts can be challenging to differentiate. However, the Dark-rumped Swift's unique rump coloration can help distinguish it from other swift species in its range.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Dark-rumped Swift consists primarily of insects, which it adeptly captures in flight with its wide, gaping mouth.

In the voice of David Attenborough: "In the verdant forests of Bhutan and Northeast India, the Dark-rumped Swift cuts a distinctive figure against the sky. Its shadowy rump, a stark contrast to its otherwise uniform plumage, is a beacon for birdwatchers seeking this vulnerable species. With deft maneuvers, it snatches insects from the air, a testament to its aerial prowess. Yet, as forests give way to other land uses, the future of this swift hangs in the balance, a reminder of the fragility of our natural world."

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More Swifts

A photo of a Himalayan Swiftlet (Aerodramus brevirostris)

Himalayan Swiftlet

Aerodramus brevirostris
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