Black-nest Swiftlet

Scientific Name: Aerodramus maximus

Malay Name: Layang-layang Gua Sarang Hitam

Chinese Name: 大金丝燕

Range: Found from Southern Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Singapore to Indonesia.

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: maximus, lowi, tichelmani.

Local Subspecies: maximus

Size: 12-13.5 cm

Identification: A small swift with blackish-brown upperparts, dull rump-band and paler underparts. Indistinguishable from Edible-nest Swiftlet when seen in flight. Can only be conclusively identified either with a bird in hand to see its heavily feathered tarsals or at its nest which is blackish in colour. It lays only one egg as opposed to two eggs by the Edible-nest Swiftlet.

Similar looking species: Plume-toed Swiftlet, Edible-nest Swiftlet

Habitat: Recorded over a wide variety of habitats, forests, clearings, coast, lowlands, mountains and also out at sea.

Behaviour/Ecology: Feed on small insects taken in flight. Gregarious and often forage in big flocks together with other Swiftlets and Swallows.

Local Status: Very common resident and very common introduced resident

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Throughout Singapore. Known to nest in Sentosa and Pedra Branca.


BirdLife International. (2016). Aerodramus maximus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

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