Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Mossy-nest Swiftlet (Aerodramus salangana)


French: Salangane de la Sonde German: Moosnestsalangane Spanish: Salangana de la Sonda

Hemiprocne salangana


, 1848,



Has been thought to be close to A. vanikorensis, A. inquietus, A. pelewensis and A. bartschi; all were formerly considered conspecific. Race aerophilus of doubtful validity; often placed in A. fuciphagus. Races A. vanikorensis aenigma and A. v. heinrichi sometimes considered to belong to present species. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. s. natunae (Stresemann, 1930) – N Borneo, Natuna Is and probably Sumatra.
  • A. s. maratua (Riley, 1927) – Maratua I, off E Borneo; one old record from SW Philippines (Basilan).
  • A. s. aerophilus (Oberholser, 1912) – islands off W Sumatra, including Nias.
  • A. s. salangana (Streubel, 1848) – Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·7–12 cm; 11·3 g. Medium-sized swiftlet with shallow tail-fork; uniform black-brown upperparts; uniform pale brown underparts. Race natunae... read more


    Echolocating abilities have been confirmed for races salangana and natunae.


    Feeds over variety of habitats adjacent to breeding caves. Apparently feeds at lower levels and... read more

    Food and feeding

    At Niah, Sarawak, 22 families and subfamilies of insects taken, certain beetles and swarming ants and termites predominating. Highly... read more


    Certain active colony studied Mar, Padang Highlands, Sumatra, and further probable record of active colony in limestone cave with A.... read more


    Presumed resident. Single record from Philippines (Basilan, Feb 1906) suggests some degree of... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Believed to be uncommon on Java, though identification problems may disguise true status there (and potentially elsewhere, see... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Mossy-nest Swiftlet (Aerodramus salangana). 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).