Asian Palm Swifts

The Asian Palm Swifts (Cypsiurus balasiensis) is a small swift that closely resembles the African Palm Swift (Cypsiurus parvus) and these two species were formerly considered conspecific (one and the same species).


The Asian Palm Swift is a common resident (non-migratory) breeder in tropical Asia from India to the Philippines. They inhabit open country and cultivation, which is strongly associated with Oil Palms.

They spend most of their lives in the air.


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 or three eggs.


The Asian Palm Swift measures 13cm in length. The plumage is mostly pale brown. It has long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang.

The body is slender, and the tail is long and deeply forke, although it is usually held closed. It has short legs which it uses only for clinging to vertical surfaces, since swifts never settle voluntarily on the ground.

Males and females look alike.

Juveniles have shorter tails.

Calls / Vocalizations

Its call is described as a loud shrill scream.

Diet / Feeding

Asian Palm Swifts feed on insects they catch in their beaks, often feed near the ground, and they drink on the wing.

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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