Glossy swiftlet

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Glossy swiftlet
Glossy Swiftlets (Collocalia esculenta) (8127975211).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Apodidae
Genus: Collocalia
Species: C. esculenta
Binomial name
Collocalia esculenta

Hirundo esculenta Linnaeus, 1758

Eggs of Collocalia esculenta MHNT

The glossy swiftlet (Collocalia esculenta) is a species of swift in the family Apodidae. It is found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and eastwards to New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands.


The glossy swiftlet was described by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae under the binomial name Hirundo esculenta. The type locality is Ambon Island, one of the Maluku Islands of Indonesia.[2][3] The specific epithet esculenta is from esculentus the Latin word for "edible".[4]

There are 17 recognised subspecies:[5]

Seven taxa that are now recognised as species were previously considered as subspecies of the glossy swiftlet. They were raised to species status based on a detailed analysis of the swiftlets in the genus Collocalia published in 2017.[6] The promoted taxa are:[5]


This bird is shiny black-blue above, including its rump; sometimes looks black and hooded. Chest black; belly to flanks white with fine black speckles at margins. Wing tips are rounded; underwing is black. Tail rounded with shallow notch and tiny white panels. It is so similar to the white-rumped swiftlet that both its upperparts and underparts must be seen to distinguish between the two. It is 9 to 11.5 cm (3.5 to 4.5 in) in length. Its voice is a soft twittering.[7]


The glossy swiftlet nests inside caves and buildings, creating a nest on a vertical or under a horizontal surface by secreting a sticky gel and attaching a kind of string-like grass to the surface.[8] It is seen flying over forests, streams, rivers and roads catching insects in flight.

Glossy swiftlets have been considered as possible foster parents for restoring the population of the endangered edible-nest swiftlet in the Andaman Islands.[9]


The glossy swiftlet is known from India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Timor, Brunei, Christmas Island, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It is a vagrant to Australia.[1] It is not a migrant.[10]


The glossy swiftlet has a very large range and is reported as being abundant in at least part of the range. It faces no particular threats, and as a result, the IUCN has listed it as being of "Least Concern".[1]


  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Collocalia esculenta". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1758). Systema Naturæ per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Volume 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae:Laurentii Salvii. p. 191.
  3. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1940). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 4. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 230.
  4. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  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. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Simpson, Ken & Day, Nicholas (1999). Birds of Australia, pg. 156. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. ISBN 0-691-14692-6.
  8. ^ K C Tsang; Amy Tsang (2008-03-01). "Glossy Swiftlets at Fraser's Hill". Bird Ecology Study Group. Retrieved 2013-12-20.
  9. ^ R. Sankaran (1998), The impact of nest collection on the Edible-nest Swiftlet in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History,Coimbatore, India.
  10. ^ "Species factsheet: Collocalia esculenta". Birdlife International. Retrieved 1 June 2015.