[order] Apodiformes | [family] Apodidae | [latin] Apus caffer | [UK] White-Rumped Swift | [FR] Martinet cafre | [DE] Kaffernsegler | [ES] Vencejo cafre | [IT] Rondone cafro | [NL] Kaffergierzwaluw

Kaffergierzwaluw determination

copyright: J. del Hoyo

The White-rumped Swift is smaller than Common Swift, but with relatively longer and more forked tail. The head and body size are close to Little Swift, but wings average longer and tail circa 40% longer and deeply forked. Small, rather slim-bodied swift, with noticeably attenuated rear body and tail. Black-blue plumage relieved by grey-brown face, pale underside to flight-feathers, and narrow white band over upper rump.

Breeds locally in Spain and Morocco and takes over nests of hirundines and Little Swift. Bred originally (only in recent decades found in the Palearctic region) in caves and on rock faces in hills, but now largely switched to artefacts such as concrete or iron road or rail culverts or bridges or house roofs. The White-rumped Swift has made this switch becasue the species they nest-parasite on, made the same switch. In south-west Europe, where breeding occurs in nests of Red-rumped Swallow under rocky outcrops, birds forage over adjacent farmland.

Apus caffer has a predominantly African breeding distribution, which just extends into Europe in southern Spain and Portugal. Its European breeding population is very small (as few as 100 pairs), but increased markedly between 1970-1990. The species continued to increase in Iberia during 1990-2000, and underwent a large increase overall. Although the size of the European population could render it susceptible to the risks affecting small populations, it is marginal to a much larger non-European population.

Small flying insects caught in flight.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 11,000,000 kmē. It has a large global population, including an estimated 200-320 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but there is evidence of a population increase, and so the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Breeding season in Spain from end of May. This species may have up to 3, but mostly 2. In Spain the species uses solely old nests of Red-rumped Swallow. In Africa, however, the White-rumped Swift sometimes breeds on ledge or in crevice of rock or building, as well as in nests of swallows and Little Swift. Lines old nests of swallows with feathers, which usually protrude from entrance. When breeding On ledges, These Swifts construct their own nest of straw and feathers cemented together with saliva to form a shallow cup. Clutch size 2 range from 1 to 3. The incubation lasts 21-25 days, young fledge after 35-53 days.

Migratory in northernmost and southernmost parts of range. Spanish population present early May to Aug-Oct, some recorded into early Dec, with autumn migration through Straits of Gibraltar mid-Aug to mid-Oct; S African population present Aug-May, mainly absent from S Cape and much reduced farther N within S breeding range Jun-Jul. Poorly understood wet-season movements into Sahel may be feature of N sub-Saharan populations. Otherwise resident. Migrates in flocks of up to 100. S African migrants may be transequatorial. Some degree of altitudinal migration in Natal. First record from Rabia 1982, and seen at least once subsequently in Tihamah coastal plains, Saudi Arabia, in Mar 1989. Vagrant to Norway (May, Jun) and Finland (Nov).