Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

House Swift (Apus nipalensis)


French: Martinet malais German: Malaiensegler Spanish: Vencejo oriental

Cypselus Nipalensis


, 1837,

central region of Nepal


Recent molecular phylogeny#R placed this species in a clade with A. caffer, A. batesi, A. horus and A. affinis. Often considered conspecific with A. affinis; separation based mainly on constantly longer, more forked tail and narrower rumpband, combined with potential sympatry in Himalayas. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. n. nipalensis (Hodgson, 1837) – Nepal E to SE China (Fujian) and S through Assam and SE Asia; also Japan.
  • A. n. subfurcatus (Blyth, 1849) – Malay Peninsula, Anambas Is, Riau Archipelago, Sumatra, Belitung, N Natunas, Borneo and Philippines (Camiguin Norte, Luzon, Mindoro, Negros, Sanga-Sanga).
  • A. n. furcatus Brooke, 1971 – Java and Bali.
  • A. n. kuntzi Deignan, 1958 – Taiwan.
  • Occurs also in Sulawesi and Lesser Sundas (race unknown, probably subfurcatus or furcatus).

    Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; 20–35 g. Very similar in size and structure to A. affinis, but tail averages longer and has slight, though usually discernible, fork; blacker... read more


    Quite vocal. Basically identical to A. affinis. Commonest call is a pleasant twittering... read more


    In Asia familiar in towns and cities, though scarcer elsewhere. Forages over a wide variety of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Faecal analysis revealed diet consisting of 78% Hymenoptera (19·8% Apocrita, 57·1% Formicoidea, 0·5% Meli­ponidae... read more


    In Myanmar, breeds any time between Feb and early Oct, with most nest-site selection in late Mar, nest-building in Apr, laying in May,... read more


    Some N populations undertake poorly studied winter movements, with records during this season in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Abundant over most of range, though level of abundance appears to vary considerably. Common on Sumatra but rather locally distributed... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2019). House Swift (Apus nipalensis). 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 15 September 2019).