Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Bradfield's Swift (Apus bradfieldi)


French: Martinet de Bradfield German: Damarasegler Spanish: Vencejo de Namibia

Micropus bradfieldi


, 1926,



Formerly considered conspecific with Tachymarptis aequatorialis, and resemblance between the two suggested to be more than superficial. However, recent molecular phylogeny#R placed this species in a clade with A. niansae, A. barbatus, A. berliozi, A. unicolor, A. alexandri, A. pallidus and A. apus. Has been thought to be closest to A. barbatus, A. berliozi and A. pallidus. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. b. bradfieldi (Roberts, 1926) – SW Angola and Namibia.
  • A. b. deserticola Brooke, 1970 – W South Africa (Northern Cape, W Free State).
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; 33–50 g. Large swift with structure typical of A. pallidus group, but A. apus and A. barbatus are only likely confusion species to... read more


    Most common call is a shrill, wheezy or reedy “srreeeerr”, overslurred with top frequency around 5–... read more


    Occurs over a variety of arid habitats, including true desert and open savanna (especially over... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including honeybees (Apis mellifera) and termites. Latter particularly important, taken after emergence precipitated by... read more


    Race bradfieldi probably breeds c. Oct–Apr (laying Apr, Namibia; nestlings Oct, Angola); deserticola recorded... read more


    Mainly resident with some movements in search of productive foraging areas after breeding. One... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Commonest swift in C Namibia and generally common throughout range. Believed to have colonized E to Big Hole in Kimberley during 20th century.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Bradfield's Swift (Apus bradfieldi). 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 26 February 2020).