Pacific Swift

Scientific Name: Apus pacificus

Malay Name: Layang-layang Sabit Asia Timur

Chinese Name: 白腰雨燕

Alternative Name(s): Fork-tailed Swift (old)

Range: Found from Siberia, China, Japan, Korea to Taiwan, wintering and passage migrant to Hong Kong, mainland Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Australia.

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: pacificus, kanoi.

Local Subspecies: pacificus

Size: 18-19.5 cm

Identification: Brownish upperpart plumage, long sickle-shaped wings and sharply forked tail separate it from House Swift. Distinguished from the similar looking Asian Palm Swift by its larger size, whitish throat and diagnostic white-rump band.

Similar looking species: Grey-rumped Treeswift, Asian Palm Swift, House Swift, Common Swift

Habitat: Open habitat and forested areas.

Behaviour/Ecology: Feed on small insects egs. bees, wasps, termites, moths and flies taken in flight.

Local Status: Common migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2019)

Location: Central Catchment Forest, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Punggol Barat, Southern Ridges, Tuas South, Pulau Ubin and Singapore Straits.

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Pacific Swift Apus pacificus
Estimated average number of individuals by week based on eBird data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023
Peak week Oct 29-Nov 04
Early date 22 Jul 2017
Late date 20 May 1989
A fixture at raptor migration hotspots in Oct and Nov. With some effort (and very good photos), you may be able to pick out a Cook's Swift, which has not yet been recorded in Singapore as of Sep 2022.


BirdLife International. (2019). Apus pacificus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019. 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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