Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Mountain Swiftlet (Aerodramus hirundinaceus)


French: Salangane de montagne German: Bergsalangane Spanish: Salangana montana

Collocalia fuciphaga hirundinacea


, 1914,

Upper Utakwa River, New Guinea


Has been thought to be close to A. infuscatus, A. terraereginae, A. mearnsi and A. spodiopygius. Previously placed in composite species A. francicus or, alternatively, in A. vanikorensis; considered conspecific with A. spodiopygius by some authors. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. h. baru (Stresemann & Paludan, 1932) – Yapen I (in Geelvink Bay, NW New Guinea).
  • A. h. excelsus (Ogilvie-Grant, 1914) – above 1600 m in Snow Mts and Carstenz peaks, in WC New Guinea.
  • A. h. hirundinaceus (Stresemann, 1914) – much of montane New Guinea, also Karkar I (off NE coast) and Goodenough I (in D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago).
  • Descriptive notes

    11–13 cm. A medium-sized swiftlet with a moderately forked tail; uniform dark brown upperparts, some birds with a suggestion of a paler rump; underparts pale grey to... read more


    Main vocalization is a continuously repeated rhythmic phrase, which consists of 2–3 whining or... read more


    Occurs over wide range of habitats, mainly in highlands, where recorded to 4000 m. Relatively low... read more

    Food and feeding

    Gregarious, commonly foraging in association with other swifts.


    Active colony noted late Sept, Tari District, Southern Highlands Province; birds entering possible nest-site in Jun on Karkar I. Colonial... read more


    Nomadic movements may account for occasional absence of the species from some parts of range.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally scarce in lowlands, locally common to abundant in highlands. Commonly represented in collections of swiftlets from New Guinea over many... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Mountain Swiftlet (Aerodramus hirundinaceus). 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).