Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Böhm's Spinetail (Neafrapus boehmi)


French: Martinet de Böhm German: Fledermaussegler Spanish: Vencejo de Böhm
Other common names: Bat-like Spinetail, Böhm's Spine-tailed Swift

Chaetura Böhmi


, 1882,



Intergrades between nominate race and sheppardi occur in upper Zambezi Valley. Proposed race madaraszi (from N Mozambique) considered synonymous with sheppardi. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. b. boehmi (Schalow, 1882) – W & CE Angola, S DRCongo, W & N Zambia and W Tanzania.
  • N. b. sheppardi (Roberts, 1922) – SE Kenya and E Tanzania; E & SE Zambia, N & E Zimbabwe, Mozambique and NE South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    10 cm; 14·5 g. A small spinetail with a quite remarkable appearance; large head, very short, square tail, rectrix spines up to 3·5 mm beyond webs, and long... read more


    A distinctive “sitsitsit-see-tsew” or “sitsitCHE-chew”. Also a high-pitched “srree-srree-seeep”.


    A lowland species, mainly below 600 m but recorded at 900 m in Zimbabwe and 1300 m in Tanzania.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Flies, beetles and ants recorded. Highly gregarious, associating with various species of saw-wing swallow (Psalidoprocne), ... read more


    Egg-laying Kenya Jan or Feb, Tanzania Apr, Kasai, DRCongo, Oct, Zambia Sept–Oct and Jan, South Africa Apr; newly fledged young Angola... read more


    Resident throughout range, but apparently more abundant in Zambia in dry season, while numbers... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Only locally common even in areas of greatest abundance, and rare through much of range. Classified as Red Data species in South Africa where thought... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Böhm's Spinetail (Neafrapus boehmi). 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 23 February 2020).