African palm swift

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African palm swift
African Palm Swift in flight.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Apodidae
Genus: Cypsiurus
Species: C. parvus
Binomial name
Cypsiurus parvus
(Lichtenstein, 1823)
Eggs of Cypsiurus parvus MHNT

The African palm swift (Cypsiurus parvus) is a small swift. It is very similar to the Asian palm swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis, and was formerly considered to be the same species.

It is a common resident breeder in tropical Africa. The down and feather nest is glued to the underside of a palm leaf with saliva, which is also used to secure the usually two eggs. This is a fast flying bird of open country, which is strongly associated with oil palms.

This 16 cm long species is mainly pale brown in colour. It has long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. The body is slender, and the tail is long and deeply forked, although it is usually held closed. The call is a loud, shrill scream.

Sexes are similar, and young birds differ mainly in their shorter tails. Palm swifts have very short legs which they use only for clinging to vertical surfaces, since swifts never settle voluntarily on the ground.

These swifts spend most of their lives in the air, living on the insects they catch in their beaks. Palm swifts often feed near the ground. They drink on the wing.

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