Family Swifts (Apodidae)


Dark-rumped Swift (Apus acuticauda)


French: Martinet d'Assam German: Glanzrückensegler Spanish: Vencejo de los Khasi

C.[ypselus] acuticanda [sic]


, 1864,

India (= Nepal?)


Recent molecular phylogeny#R placed this species in a clade with A. pacificus, of which it was in the past occasionally considered a race. Race cooki of A. pacificus may be better included with present species. Population from Blue Mts, in Lushai Hills of S Assam, described as race rupchandi, but claimed differences in plumage do not hold good. It is also suggested that, if a series of specimens from Thailand was available, it might show that population to represent a separate form. Monotypic.


Breeds with certainty in E Buthan#R and around Cherrapunji and Lilancote, in Khasi Hills (NE India); thought to breed also in Lushai Hills, in Mizoram (extreme S Assam), and Nagaland#R; may occur in Myanmar and (one specimen) Nepal. In Thailand, to date known only from winter records from NW; recorded also in S China (Yunnan).

Descriptive notes

16–17 cm. Large swift with rakish structure very like A. pacificus, but lacks white rump; outer tail slighter less thickset as outer rectrices strongly... read more


Calls around colonies often extremely high-pitched but cover broad frequency range, comprising... read more


Deep gulleys, often with waterfalls, and cliffs in the very wet Khasi Hills. Breeds at c. 400 m in... read more

Food and feeding

Diet unknown, but has been observed foraging in small groups with Apus pacificus and Collocalia brevirostris, as well as... read more


Season generally stated to be end Mar to end Apr, but perhaps more prolonged, Feb–Jun. Colonial. Shallow cup-like nest of grass, moss... read more


Winter records from NW Thailand and Yunnan (SW China) indicate short-distance migration, although... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in Eastern Himalayas EBA. Overall population estimated at just 150–700 mature individuals. Apparently small population and... read more

Recommended citation

Chantler, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Dark-rumped Swift (Apus acuticauda). 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 June 2019).