White-throated Needletail

Scientific Name: Hirundapus caudacutus
Malay Name: Layang-layang Besar Utara
Chinese Name: 白喉针尾雨燕

Found from Siberia to Central and Northeast Asia and winters to the Indian subcontinent, Southern China, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand

Polytypic. Subspecies are: caudacutus, nudipes.

Local Subspecies: nudipes

Size: 21-22 cm

Resembles the other two migratory Needletail species with cigar-shaped body but has the diagnostic clearly defined white throat. Juvenile has less glossy underparts.

Similar looking species: Silver-backed Needletail, Brown-backed Needletail

Habitat: Forested and open areas.

Behaviour/Ecology: Forages aerially and has also been observed to roost in trees.

Local Status: Formerly a very rare vagrant, it has been annual in small numbers since 2017. Change in status is the subject may in some part be due to the increased observer coverage of Henderson Waves during migration season.

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2019)

Location: The first record for Singapore was at the summit of Bukit Timah in April 2008. The next records were at Henderson Waves and Jelutong Tower in October 2017. Since then the species has been annual. The list below is noit comprehensive and is a work in progress:

2008 – One at the summit of Bukit Timah on 5 April

2017 – One at Henderson Waves on 19 October and one at Jelutong Tower on 25 October

2018 – 4 at Henderson Waves on 22 October and 5 there on 28 October

2019 – 1 at Jelutong Tower on 1 November, 4 at the summit of Bukit Timah on 8 November and X at Henderson Waves on 14 November

2020 – One at Sentosa on 24 March and one at the summit of Bukit Timah on 1 April. Later in the year four were at Henderson Waves on 17 October with one at Henderson Waves on 30 October


External Links:
Conservation Status: IUCN Red List Page
Photos: Oriental Bird Images
Sound Recordings: xeno-canto Link
Wikipedia Entry: Wikipedia Link

BirdLife International. (2019). Hirundapus caudacutus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019. Downloaded on 2 September 2021
Robson, C. (2008). A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers.