Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Data Deficient

Papuan Swiftlet (Aerodramus papuensis)


French: Salangane papoue German: Papuasalangane Spanish: Salangana papúa
Other common names: Three-toed Swiftlet

Collocalia whiteheadi papuensis


, 1941,

Idenburg River, western New Guinea


Unique among Apodidae in lacking fourth toe. One phylogenetic study indicated that present species was basal to other Aerodramus and even that it and Hydrochous gigas are sister taxa, a relationship that would indicate paraphyly of genus Aerodramus#R. Monotypic.


New Guinea: specimens collected from Idenburg R, Snow Mts and Jayapura. Probable sight records from more extensive area of N New Guinea and from around Port Moresby, in SE; first specimen for Papua New Guinea taken from N slopes of Hindenburg Range, in Western Province, Apr 1993.

Descriptive notes

14 cm. Large swiftlet with shallowly forked tail; warm brown, slightly glossy upperparts lacking rump contrast; underparts dark with contrastingly silver-grey throat; densely... read more


No information.


Occurs over range of habitats from sea-level to 2400 m. One captured at this upper altitudinal... read more

Food and feeding

Typically feeds at high elevations, though low-level foraging recorded over wetlands. Flocks of 20–30 typical; often with A.... read more


Not known.



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Data Deficient. Known from a handful of specimens and a few unconfirmed sight records. Thought to be locally common, though lack... read more

Recommended citation

Chantler, P., Boesman, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Papuan Swiftlet (Aerodramus papuensis). 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 19 February 2020).