Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

Uniform Swiftlet (Aerodramus vanikorensis)


French: Salangane de Vanikoro German: Einfarbsalangane Spanish: Salangana de Vanikoro
Other common names: Ameline Swiftlet (amelis, incorporating palawanensis)

Hirundo vanikorensis

Quoy and Gaimard

, 1830,

island of Vanikoro, in Santa Cruz Islands


Has been thought to be closely related to A. inquietus, A. pelewensis, A. bartschi and A. salangana, and all were formerly considered conspecific; A. mearnsi, too, was previously included in this group. Both A. infuscatus and A. hirundinaceus have been treated as races of present species. Races palawanensis and amelis sometimes considered two (or one#R) distinct species; former has been treated as conspecific with A. maximus or A. whiteheadi, and latter with A. fuciphagus; molecular findings in one study#R that palawanensis is sister to A. mearnsi and that race lugubris is considerably differentiated are suggestive, but amelis and forms from Sulawesi not sampled, so amelis and palawanensis for the present retained here. Races aenigma and heinrichi sometimes considered to belong to A. salangana. Population on Yamdena, in Tanimbar Is, not yet subspecifically assigned and may belong to an undescribed race. Australian birds formerly treated alone as race yorki, with name granti applied to New Guinea birds; the only two Australian records, however, refer to vagrants identical to the New Guinea form, and it is clear that only a single race is involved; this race often listed as granti, but name yorki has priority by 21 years. Proposed race tsubame of A. whiteheadi now considered a synonym of race palawanensis. Fourteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. v. amelis (Oberholser, 1906) – Grey Swiftlet – N, C & S Philippines (Batan, Luzon, Catanduanes, Mindoro, Verde, Marinduque, Sibuyan, Gigantes, Calagnaan, Bantayan, Cebu, Cagayancillo, Bohol, Dinagat, Mindanao).
  • A. v. palawanensis (Stresemann, 1914) – Palawan Swiftlet – Palawan (SW Philippines).
  • A. v. aenigma (Riley, 1918) – C & SE Sulawesi, including Muna I; presumably this subspecies recorded in Banggai Is#R and Sula Is (Taliabu)#R.
  • A. v. heinrichi (Stresemann, 1932) – S Sulawesi.
  • A. v. moluccarum (Stresemann, 1914) – Seram, Ambon, Banda, Gorong, Manawoka, Tayandu and Kai Is, in S Moluccas.
  • A. v. waigeuensis (Stresemann & Paludan, 1932) – N Moluccas (Morotai, Halmahera) and W Papuan Is (Misool, Batanta, Waigeo and probably Salawati).
  • A. v. steini (Stresemann & Paludan, 1932) – Biak and Numfor (in Geelvink Bay, NW New Guinea).
  • A. v. yorki (Mathews, 1916) – Aru Is, New Guinea, Yapen I and D’Entrecasteaux Is.
  • A. v. tagulae (Mayr, 1937) – Trobriand Is, Woodlark I and Louisiade Archipelago.
  • A. v. coultasi (Mayr, 1937) – Admiralty Is (Manus, Los Negros, Rambutyo) and St Matthias Group.
  • A. v. pallens (Salomonsen, 1983) – New Hanover, New Ireland and nearby Djaul I, and New Britain, in Bismarck Archipelago.
  • A. v. lihirensis (Mayr, 1937) – Tabar Is, Lihir Group, Tanaga Is and Feni Is (E of New Ireland).
  • A. v. lugubris (Salomonsen, 1983) – Solomon Is S to Makira (San Cristobal I).
  • A. v. vanikorensis (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830) – Uniform Swiftlet – Santa Cruz Is (including Duff Is and Swallow Is) and Vanuatu.
  • Also (subspecies unknown) Yamdena, in Tanimbar Is.

    Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 17·9–22·5 g (palawanensis), 7·3–13 g (yorki). Medium-sized swiftlet with moderately forked tail; grey-brown... read more


    Main vocalization is a continuously repeated rhythmic phrase, “zoo-zu-chee-chee”, initially... read more


    Occurs over variety of habitats, mainly forest, including coasts and islands, from lowlands to over... read more

    Food and feeding

    Highly gregarious, associating with congeners. Highly transient when foraging. Feeds at lowest elevations when over open country; feeds... read more


    Season Aug–Dec, sometimes to Feb, Vanuatu; breeding New Guinea at Musgrave R and Mafulu, both Central Province, in Aug and Oct... read more


    Resident, but with some evidence of local movements. Numbers known to fluctuate in some places, e.g... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to abundant throughout range. Reported as common in C Sulawesi in early 1980s. Occurs in several protected areas throughout... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Uniform Swiftlet (Aerodramus vanikorensis). 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).