Family Swifts (Apodidae)

Data Deficient

Whitehead's Swiftlet (Aerodramus whiteheadi)


French: Salangane de Whitehead German: Philippinensalangane Spanish: Salangana de Whitehead

Collocalia whiteheadi


, 1895,

Mount Data, Luzon, Philippines


In the past considered conspecific with A. orientalis, but apparently not closely related. Formerly linked with A. brevirostris, but differs in nest type and rump pattern. Has also been considered conspecific with A. papuensis, but does not lack fourth toe. Two forms previously listed as races of present species are now synonymized with other congeneric taxa: tsubame with A. vanikorensis palawanensis; and apoensis with A. mearnsi. Many old records attributed to this species refer in fact to A. vanikorensis amelis. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. w. whiteheadi (Ogilvie-Grant, 1895) – Mt Data, in N Luzon (N Philippines).
  • A. w. origenis (Oberholser, 1906) – Mt Apo, Mt Kitanglad and Mt Matutum (also at unnamed locality in same province as Matutum), on Mindanao (S Philippines).
  • Single record from Negros (Mt Kanla-on) in 1998#R.

    Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 14 g (one female). Large swiftlet with massive head and deep tail-fork; black-brown upperparts with some white rami but lacking paler rump; extensive pale... read more


    No information.


    Recorded only from naturally forested, montane sites, with all specimens coming from above 1000 m.

    Food and feeding

    Not known.


    Nestling and nests collected from Mt Apo early Jul, where four rounded nests found in hollow tree, consisting of green bryophytes with... read more


    Presumed resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Data Deficient. Restricted-range species: present in Luzon EBA and Mindanao and the Eastern Visayas EBA. Known from only four... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chantler, P., Sharpe, C.J. & Boesman, P. (2020). Whitehead's Swiftlet (Aerodramus whiteheadi). 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 21 February 2020).