Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

White-rumped Spinetail (Zoonavena sylvatica)


French: Martinet indien German: Hindusegler Spanish: Vencejo indio
Other common names: White-rumped Spine-tailed Swift, White-rumped Needletail, Indian White-rumped Spinetail

Acanthylis sylvatica


, 1846,

central India


Previously placed in genus Chaetura. Monotypic.


S of Himalayas from NC India (Garhwal, in Uttarakhand) E through Nepal to Sikkim; E & EC India (E Maharashtra, Odisha and SW West Bengal); SW India from Goa S through Western Ghats to S Kerala. Recorded in SE Bangladesh (possibly also elsewhere in that country). Reported in Myanmar, where status uncertain.

Descriptive notes

11 cm; 13 g. Small spinetail with short square tail, rounded when spread, relatively large head and distinctive wing shape, hooked outer wing, bulging midwing and pinched in... read more


Rather silent. Occasionally a doubled buzzy “zzik-zzik”.


In Himalayas found to 1770 m, though generally at lower altitudes over variety of forest types,... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly Coleoptera and Hemiptera. Usually forages in small groups, though up to 50 have been recorded together, over forested and adjacent... read more


Season mainly Mar–Apr, though recorded Feb–May, Western Ghats. Believed to be a solitary breeder; multiple nests at some sites... read more


Largely resident, but with some dispersal, which appears to be without pattern.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Generally rather local and uncommon, but sometimes abundant; groups of up to 50 individuals occasionally recorded, but numbers are normally much... read more

Recommended citation

Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). White-rumped Spinetail (Zoonavena sylvatica). 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).