Plume-toed swiftlet

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Plume-toed swiftlet
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Apodidae
Genus: Collocalia
Species: C. affinis
Binomial name
Collocalia affinis
Beavan, 1867

Collocalia esculenta affinis

The plume-toed swiftlet (Collocalia affinis) is a small bird in the swift family Apodidae. It is found on some eastern Indian Ocean islands, the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and lowland Borneo.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It was previously considered a subspecies of the glossy swiftlet.


The plume-toed swiftlet was described by the English ornithologist Robert Cecil Beavan in 1867 and given current binomial name Collocalia affinis. The type locality is Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.[1][2] The specific epithet affinis is Latin for "related" or "applied".[3] The plume-toed swiftlet was previously treated as a subspecies of the glossy swiftlet but was promoted to species status based on the results of a detailed analysis of the swiftlets in the genus Collocalia published in 2017.[4][5]

There are five subspecies:[5]


The plume-toed swiftlet is 9–10 cm (3.5–3.9 in) in length with a square tail.[6] The back and upper surface of the wings are uniformly dark greenish-blue with a moderate gloss. The throat and upper breast are dark grey merging into large greyish chevrons over the lower breast and flanks, usually becoming white over the belly. There is a tuft of small feathers on the hallux, the rear facing toe. This species lacks a pale contrasting rump and has no white spots on the inner webs of the tail feathers.[4]


  1. ^ Beavan, Robert Cecil (1867). "The avifauna of the Andaman Islands". Ibis. Series 2. 3: 314–334 [318].
  2. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1940). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 4. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 229.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 35. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ a b Rheindt, Frank E.; Christidis, Les; Norman, Janette A.; Eaton, James A.; Sadanandan, Keren R.; Schodde, Richard (2017). "Speciation in Indo-Pacific swiftlets (Aves: Apodidae): integrating molecular and phenotypic data for a new provisional taxonomy of the Collocalia esculenta complex". Zootaxa. 4250 (5): 401–433. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4250.5.1.
  5. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Owlet-nightjars, treeswifts & swifts". World Bird List Version 7.3. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  6. ^ Chantler, P.; Boesman, P. (2017). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E., eds. "Glossy Swiftlet (Collocalia esculenta)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 23 August 2017. (Subscription required (help)).