Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Cave Swiftlet (Collocalia linchi)


French: Salangane linchi German: Linchisalangane Spanish: Salangana linchi
Other common names: Linchi Swiftlet, Bornean Swiftlet (dodgei)

Collocalia linchi

Horsfield and F. Moore

, 1854,



May be conspecific with C. esculenta; race natalis of latter sometimes placed in present species. Race dodgei recently proposed for species level on basis of genetic distance and “significant” size disjunction from nominate linchi#R, but genetic comparison failed to sample other races although ripleyi sits between dodgei and linchi morphometrically and, arguably, geographically; moreover, sources of DNA only assumed to be from dodgei, and sample size for dodgei morphometrics only 3. Proposed race plesseni (from Nusa Penida, off SE Bali) currently included in nominate linchi; however, geographical position of Nusa Penida makes it far more likely that these birds are of same race as those on Bali and Lombok, in which case name plesseni (described in 1941) would have priority over dedii; type of plesseni apparently not available when dedii was described#R. Older name for species C. fucivora is a nomen oblitum. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. l. ripleyi Somadikarta, 1986 – Bukit Barisan Mts, in Sumatra.
  • C. l. dodgei Richmond, 1905 – Mt Kinabalu (Sabah), in N Borneo. Possible record in Menyapa Mts#R.
  • C. l. linchi Horsfield & F. Moore, 1854 – Java and islands of Bawean, Madura and Nusa Penida.
  • C. l. dedii Somadikarta, 1986 – Bali and Lombok.
  • Descriptive notes

    10 cm. A tiny swiftlet with a square tail; plumage very similar to that of C. esculenta but green-glossed and lacks rectrix spots; in the hand, differs from C.... read more


    Poorly documented, described as a high-pitched “cheer-cheer”.


    Occurs from sea-level up into highlands, over both forest and open country. In Sumatra and Borneo,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Gregarious. Will forage in crowns of emergent trees, particularly fruiting figs.


    Self-supporting bracket-shaped nest consisting of thin pieces of vegetable matter, species used depending on availability. Two white... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Believed to be extinct on Malay Peninsula. Apparently rarest in Sumatra. Race dodgei seen in good numbers on Mt Kinabalu in 1988. Common on... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Cave Swiftlet (Collocalia linchi). 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).