Family Treeswifts (Hemiprocnidae)

Least Concern

Moustached Treeswift (Hemiprocne mystacea)


French: Hémiprocné à moustaches German: Bartbaumsegler Spanish: Vencejo arborícola bigotudo

Cypselus mystaceus

Lesson and Garnot

, 1827,

Manokwari, New Guinea


Race aeroplanes sometimes subsumed within nominate, but appears distinct enough; equally, macrura and carbonaria sufficiently different to be regarded as valid subspecies. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. m. confirmata Stresemann, 1914 – Moluccas (excluding Kai and Sula groups) E to Aru Is.
  • H. m. mystacea (Lesson & Garnot, 1827) – W Papuan Is and New Guinea, including islands in Geelvink Bay.
  • H. m. aeroplanes Stresemann, 1921 – Long I, Umboi I and Bismarck Archipelago (excluding Admiralty Is and Feni Is).
  • H. m. macrura Salomonsen, 1983 – Admiralty Is (NW Bismarck Archipelago).
  • H. m. woodfordiana (E. J. O. Hartert, 1896) – Feni Is (off SE New Ireland, in E Bismarck) and most of Solomon Is (including Bougainville).
  • H. m. carbonaria Salomonsen, 1983 – Makira (San Cristobal), in SE Solomons.
  • Descriptive notes

    28–31 cm; 56–79 g. Only slightly crested. No other treeswift shares range; differs from Pacific Swift (Apus pacificus) in having deeper-forked, longer... read more


    Various calls described, the most typical apparently being a shrill, downward-inflected “kiiee”, “... read more


    High emergent crowns in mangroves and beach-strand woodland, scattered trees and groves, and edge... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly crepuscular, being most frequently observed feeding at dawn and dusk, sometimes even in darkness; more irregularly during rest of... read more


    Active nests recorded in all months except Mar; season locally variable (e.g. middle to end of dry season around Port Moresby, but in some... read more


    Locally dispersive resident, but perhaps nomadic in some areas; movements little studied.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Relatively common generally, with no hint yet that any race is threatened, although some individual Wallacean island populations may be under... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wells, D. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Moustached Treeswift (Hemiprocne mystacea). 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 26 February 2020).