Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Least Concern

White-rumped Swiftlet (Aerodramus spodiopygius)


French: Salangane à croupion blanc German: Weißbürzelsalangane Spanish: Salangana culiblanca

Macropteryx spodiopygius


, 1848,

Upolu and Tutuila, Samoa Islands


Has been considered close to A. mearnsi, A. infuscatus, A. hirundinaceus and A. terraereginae, and last three have all been considered conspecific with present species. A. sawtelli may prove to be merely a race of this species. Previously placed in composite species A. francicus. Eleven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. s. delichon (Salomonsen, 1983) – Admiralty Is, in N Bismarck Archipelago.
  • A. s. eichhorni (E. J. O. Hartert, 1924) – Mussau I, in St Matthias Group (NC Bismarck Archipelago).
  • A. s. noonaedanae (Salomonsen, 1983) – New Ireland (including Tabar Is and Lihir Is, off E coast) and New Britain, in E Bismarck.
  • A. s. reichenowi (Stresemann, 1912) – Solomon Is from Buka S to Makira (San Cristobal).
  • A. s. desolatus (Salomonsen, 1983) – Duff Is, Swallow Is and Ndeni (Santa Cruz Is) and Tikopia (extreme S Solomons).
  • A. s. epiensis (Salomonsen, 1983) – Banks Is and N & C Vanuatu (S to Epi).
  • A. s. ingens (Salomonsen, 1983) – S Vanuatu (Emae S to Anatom).
  • A. s. leucopygius (Wallace, 1864) – Loyalty Is and New Caledonia.
  • A. s. assimilis (Stresemann, 1912) – Fiji.
  • A. s. townsendi (Oberholser, 1906) – Tonga.
  • A. s. spodiopygius (Peale, 1848) – Samoa and American Samoa.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–11·5 cm; male 6–7·5 g, female 6–8·5 g (leucopygius). A small to medium-sized swiftlet with a deep tail-fork; highly... read more


    Main vocalization is a continuously repeated rhythmic phrase, “twee-twee-chew-chew”or “twee-twee-... read more


    Occurs over wide range of island habitats, from lowlands to highlands, on New Britain to 1890 m and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Race assimilis of Fiji compared with A. terraereginae chilla­goensis of Australia: present species takes smaller prey... read more


    Season on Vanuatu Oct–Feb; active colony reported on Lou I (S of Manus in Admiralty Is), Mar; on Fiji first eggs laid Sept–Oct... read more


    Resident. Vagrant to New Zealand.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to abundant over much of range; 8 colonies in Fiji contained over 1400 nests in 1975 and 1976. Commonest swiftlet in W New Britain.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). White-rumped Swiftlet (Aerodramus spodiopygius). 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 7 April 2020).