Brown-backed Needletail

Scientific Name: Hirundapus giganteus
Malay Name: Layang-layang Besar Biasa
Chinese Name: 褐背针尾雨燕

Found from Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia

Polytypic. Subspecies are: indicus, giganteus.

Local Subspecies: giganteus, indicus

Size: 21-24.5 cm

Migratory subspecies indicus looks bulky and has mostly blackish body, distinctive white lower flanks and vent, brownish saddle on lower mantle and white loral spot. The resident subspecies of Thai-Malay Peninsula giganteus is larger than indicus and lacks the white loral spot.

Similar looking species: Silver-rumped Spinetail, White-throated Needletail, Silver-backed Needletail

Habitat: Forested and open areas.

Behaviour/Ecology: Has fast gliding flight, wings make loud whooshing sound when zooming overhead.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (Summit), Jelutong Tower and Chinese Garden.

BirdLife International. (2016). Hirundapus giganteus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Accessed on 19 December 2021
Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.