Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Edible-nest Swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphagus)


French: Salangane à nid blanc German: Weißnestsalangane Spanish: Salangana nidoblanco
Other common names: Andaman Grey-rumped Swiftlet (inexpectatus), Pale-rumped Swiftlet (germani)

Hirundo Fuciphaga


, 1812,



In the past, was at various times considered conspecific with many other swiftlet taxa, e.g. A. francicus and A. unicolor. Race germani sometimes considered a distinct species, often including amechanus; description of it as having “strikingly pale underparts and broad whitish rump” (HBW), however, appears to overstate its distinctiveness, specimens in NHMUK being a shade paler below than nominate fuciphagus and with rump whitish-grey rather than whitish. Races dammermani and micans often lumped within nominate, and still very poorly known. Proposed race bartelsi is a synonym of nominate. A. salangana aerophilus often placed in present species. A. vanikorensis amelis has been linked with present species in a superspecies; race perplexus has been associated with amelis. Eight subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. f. amechanus (Oberholser, 1912) – Anambas Is, off SE Peninsular Malaysia.
  • A. f. germani (Oustalet, 1876) – Germain's Swiftlet – coastline from W Hainan S around SE Asia to Malay Peninsula, including Mergui Archipelago (off S Myanmar); coastal N Borneo and W Philippines (Palawan E to Panay and Ticao).
  • A. f. inexpectatus (A. O. Hume, 1873) – Andaman Is and Nicobar Is.
  • A. f. vestitus (Lesson, 1843) – Sumatra, Belitung I and Borneo (except N coasts).
  • A. f. perplexus (Riley, 1927) – Maratua I, off E Borneo.
  • A. f. fuciphagus (Thunberg, 1812) – Edible-nest Swiftlet – Java, Kangean Is and Bali to W Lesser Sundas (E to Sumbawa), and Tanahjampea.
  • A. f. dammermani (Rensch, 1931) – Flores (EC Lesser Sundas).
  • A. f. micans (Stresemann, 1914) – Sumba, Sawu and Timor (C Lesser Sundas).
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–12·5 cm; 8·7–14·8 g (germani). Medium-sized swiftlet with relatively deeply forked tail; glossy, almost black-brown... read more


    Race germani utters buzzy nasal calls such as “zzreeew” or a more bisyllabic “zi-reeew”,... read more


    Occurs over range of habitats, cleared and forested, coastal and interior, from sea-level to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Analysis of food balls from Penang, Malaysia, revealed following orders account for most prey items: Hymenoptera 41%, Ephemeroptera 26... read more


    Mainly Mar–Apr on Andaman and Nicobar Is; recorded early Dec, Tanahjampea I (N Flores Sea); begins nesting Mar, harvested for second... read more


    Resident. Individuals breeding on smaller offshore islands may travel across sea to larger... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Abundant in suitable habitat, though declining in many areas as witnessed by reduced nest yields. In 1950s, it was thought that more... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Edible-nest Swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphagus). 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 9 April 2020).