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African Palm Swift in flight.jpg
African palm swift
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Family: Apodidae
Tribe: Apodini
Genus: Cypsiurus
Lesson, 1843

C. balasiensis
C. parvus

Cypsiurus is a genus of the swift family of birds.

There are two species

These very similar species were formerly considered to be conspecific.

They have mainly pale brown plumage and 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 sexes are similar, and young birds differ from adults 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 flying insects. Palm swifts often feed near the ground, and they drink on the wing.


  • Barlow, Wacher and Disley, Birds of The Gambia ISBN 1-873403-32-1
  • Chantler and Driessens, Swifts ISBN 1-873403-83-6
  • Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, Birds of India ISBN 0-691-04910-6