Order: Apodiformes

Family:  Apodidae

Scientific name: Cypsiurus balasiensis, J.E. Gray, 1829

IUCN Red list status-Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Asian Palm swift got the name due to their affinity towards palm trees.


The Asian Palm-swift 12-13 cm in long and weighs 3-10 Gms. The overall plumage is pale brown. It has long, thin, swept-back wings. The body is slender and the tail is long and deeply forked. The fork in the tail is not visible while the bird is flying because the split is held closed. Both the sexes look similar and the juveniles have shorter tail. The irises are black. The legs are very short so that they can’t sit in ground or perch. But they can cling to vertical surfaces.


The diet of Asian Palm-swift is mainly insects. Grasshoppers, moths, crickets, mantises, cicadas, beetles, dragonflies, flying termites, airborne spiders, flies, locust and flying ants are their primary food. They are excellent aerial foragers, and hawks insects on the wing. They drink by skimming over the water surface while flying. The forage time is manly day and it is done in groups.


The habitat of Asian Palm-swift includes mangrove vegetation, open woodlands, scrub jungle, deciduous forests, dry shrub land, moist lowland forests, open country, grassy plains, agricultural fields, palm plantations and open parks with palm trees. In India it is distributed throughout the union especially the areas rich in palm trees. They are also found in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Reproductive Behaviour

Asian Palm-swifts breeds throughout the year with local variations. But the peak breeding season is from April to June in India and. The fronds of palm trees like oil palm, fan palms etc. are the roosting and nesting sites. Nest is a tiny half saucer of feathers and vegetable down agglutinated with bird’s saliva and attached in a fold on the underside of palm leaf. Normally 2-3 eggs are laid and that also is glued to the nest. The incubation period is almost 21 days. Both sexes share all domestic duties.


The call is a loud shrill “ti-ti-tee” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • African Palm Swift (Cypsiurus parvus).
  • Cypsiurus balasiensis balasiensis of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  • Cypsiurus balasiensis infumatus of north-east India, China and Southeast Asian countries
  • Cypsiurus balasiensis bartelsorum of Indonesia.
  • Cypsiurus balasiensis pallidior of

Migratory Behaviour

Common Resident