French: Martinet des palmes German: Palmensegler Spanish: Vencejo palmero africano
M. H. C. Lichtenstein
Subspecies and Distribution
C. p. parvus
(M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1823) – African Palm-swift – Senegambia E to Ethiopia, S to South Sudan; also SW Arabia.
C. p. brachypterus
(Reichenow, 1903) – Sierra Leone E to NE DRCongo, S to Angola; islands in Gulf of Guinea.
C. p. myochrous
(Reichenow, 1886) – South Sudan S (mainly in highlands) through L Victoria Basin to Zimbabwe, E Botswana and NE South Africa.
C. p. laemostigma
(Reichenow, 1905) – coastal lowlands from S Somalia S to C Mozambique.
C. p. hyphaenes
Brooke, 1972 – N Namibia and N Botswana.
C. p. celer
Clancey, 1983 – S Mozambique and E South Africa (to S KwaZulu-Natal).
C. p. griveaudi
Benson, 1960 – Comoro Is.
C. p. gracilis
(Sharpe, 1871) – Madagascar Palm-swift – Madagascar.
16 cm (including tail of up to 9 cm); 10–18·1 g. Highly distinctive jizz and helter-skelter flight action (on rapid fluttering wingbeats) should separate this... read more
Vocalizes frequently, mainly a rapid, reedy-sounding chatter, “si-si-si-soo-soo”, with variants,... read more
Always contains palms, particularly fan palms, on which depends largely for nest-sites, though... read more
Food and feeding
Recorded contents from 32 stomachs: flies (17), ants (6), termites (4), beetles (3), c. 100 winged termites (1), and many small ants (1).... read more
Over much of range breeds year-round, though mainly in warmer months. Laying dates: May–Aug, Senegambia; Sept–Oct and Jun,... read more
Resident over much of range, but present only during summer in most southerly breeding area in... read more
Status and conservation
Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant, e.g. considered to be commonest breeding swift in Zambia. In Kenya commonest on coastal strip and far less apparent in W... read more
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