Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Near Threatened

Mascarene Swiftlet (Aerodramus francicus)


French: Salangane des Mascareignes German: Mauritiussalangane Spanish: Salangana de las Mascareñas

Hirundo francica

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

"insula Franciae" = Mauritius


Thought to be closest to A. elaphrus, and sometimes considered conspecific; has alternatively been lumped with A. fuciphagus, although the two do not appear to be closely related. In the past, was treated as part of a composite species that also included A. infuscatus, A. hirundinaceus, A. terraereginae and A. spodiopygius. Differences between birds on Reunion and those on Mauritius suggest that two subspecies may be involved. Monotypic.


Mauritius and Reunion (Mascarene Is).

Descriptive notes

10·5 cm; 9–9·5 g. Small swiftlet with forked tail; dark brown upperparts with whitish rump clearly paler, pale brown underparts. Species capable of... read more


Calls include a repeated throaty, hoarse or hissing “cheeee” or “churrr”. Uses echolocation inside... read more


Occurs over wide range of habitats. Nesting caves are typically sited in lava tunnels.

Food and feeding

Gregarious, foraging in flocks. Usually feeds at least 20 m above ground, though will feed lower over lakes and during cloudy periods. In... read more


Season not clearly defined with eggs and young present in every month except Apr and May 1974 in a 16-month study of two colonies from Oct... read more


Resident. Records from Madagascar no longer considered acceptable.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Reunion EBA and Mauritius EBA. Population limited by paucity of suitable... read more

Recommended citation

Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Mascarene Swiftlet (Aerodramus francicus). 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 25 February 2020).