Family Swifts (Apodidae)


Atiu Swiftlet (Aerodramus sawtelli)


French: Salangane de Cook German: Atiusalangane Spanish: Salangana de las Cook
Other common names: Sawtell's Swiftlet, Cook Islands Swiftlet

Aerodramus sawtelli


, 1974,

Atiu Island, in Cook Islands


Has been considered closely related to A. leucophaeus, or even to be conspecific with it, but apparently differs in nest habits. May prove to be merely a race of A. spodiopygius, which is very similar in size and plumage and which occurs not far from Cook Is. Monotypic.


Atiu I (S Cook Is).

Descriptive notes

10 cm. Small to medium-sized swiftlet with relatively long, forked tail; black-brown upperparts with contrastingly pale grey rump; pale grey-brown underparts appearing... read more


Uses echolocation inside nesting caves, by emitting repeated high-bandwidth clicks at a rate of 4–... read more


Occurs over both open and forested habitats; favours forests, agriculturally developed areas such... read more

Food and feeding

Little known. In a faecal analysis, all of the identifiable fragments were the remains of insects except for occasional feather fragments,... read more


Most nests built Sept with last chicks fledged Apr. Colonial cave breeder. Nest typically bracket-and-cup-shaped and self-supporting using... read more



Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in Southern Cook Islands EBA. No decline apparent to date. There were thought to be only 60 nests when species was first... read more

Recommended citation

Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2017). Atiu Swiftlet (Aerodramus sawtelli). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 November 2017).