Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Australian Swiftlet (Aerodramus terraereginae)


French: Salangane d’Australie German: Queenslandsalangane Spanish: Salangana australiana

Cypselus terræ-reginæ

E. P. Ramsay

, 1875,

north-east coast ranges, near Cardwell, Queensland, Australia


Has been thought to be close to A. infuscatus, A. hirundinaceus, A. mearnsi and A. spodiopygius. Previously placed in composite species A. francicus or, alternatively, in A. vanikorensis; considered conspecific with A. spodiopygius by some authors. Race chillagoensis has been treated as a separate species, although solid grounds for such a split appear to be lacking. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. t. terraereginae (E. P. Ramsay, 1875) – coastal NE Queensland.
  • A. t. chillagoensis Pecotich, 1982 – Chillagoe, Mitchell and Palmer districts, in subcoastal NE Queensland.
  • Descriptive notes

    11 cm; mean 9·4 g. Medium-sized swiftlet with shallowly forked tail; dark brown upperparts with typically paler rump, though some birds uniform across upperparts; pale... read more


    Flight call a high-pitched “cheep”. Echolocating calls consist of incessant metallic clicks; the... read more


    Recorded to 1000 m, generally below 500 m. Much foraging over dry savanna-type terrain, though also... read more

    Food and feeding

    Habits of race chilla­goensis compared with those of A. spodiopygius assimilis of Fiji: present species takes larger... read more


    At Tully Gorge, North Queensland, 95% of nests contained eggs or nestlings at various stages of development, early Oct to mid-Jan; breeds... read more


    Resident. Birds enter their breeding caves at remarkable speeds of up to 111 km/h, but are able to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in lowlands. Survey of 34 active colonies during 1985–1987 showed peak count of 500 pairs for a single colony. Range appears stable but... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Australian Swiftlet (Aerodramus terraereginae). 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 21 February 2020).