Cave Swiftlet
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Collocalia linchi linchi
Range Indonesia, Malaysia and India.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Class Aves
Order Apodiformes
Family Apodidae
Genus Collocalia
Species Collocalia linchi
Conservation Status
Least Concern

The Cave swiftlet (Collocalia linchi), is a species of swift in the Apodidae family. It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia and India. It is a woodland species and nests in caves.


This bird is shiny blackish-brown above with a greenish gloss, including its rump; sometimes looks black and hooded. Chest black; belly to flanks pale grey with fine black speckles at margins. Wing tips are rounded; underwing is black. Tail black, rounded with shallow notch but lacking the white specks found in the very similar glossy swiftlet (Collocalia esculenta). A distinguishing feature between the two species is that the glossy swiftlet has a tuft of feathers on its hind toe but the cave swiftlet has a naked toe. It is 9 to 11.5 cm (3.5 to 4.5 in) in length. The call is a high-pitched "cheer-cheer".

Distribution and Habitat

The cave swiftlet is native to Malaysia and Indonesia. It is found in the Sundaic region, in Java, Madura Island, Bawean, Kangean Island, Nusa Penida, Bali and Lombok, parts of Sumatra, and the western slopes of Mount Kinabalu on Sabah, Borneo. Evidence of it occurring in Malaysia rests on a single specimen in the British Museum labelled "Molacca". Its natural habitat is lowland and upland forest and open woodland.


Described subspecies include:

Collocalia linchi dedii

(Somadikarta, 1986)

Bali and Lombok
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Collocalia linchi dodgei (Bornean swiftlet)

(Richmond, 1905)

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Collocalia linchi linchi

(Horsfield & Moore, 1854)

Madura, Bawean, Nusa Penida and Java
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Collocalia linchi ripleyi

(Somadikarta, 1986)

Barisan Mountains, Sumatra


The cave swiftlet is highly gregarious and flies with all the other species of swift that are sympatric with it. It often circles and flies through the branches of trees emerging through the canopy such as fruiting figs. It breeds in the lighter parts of caves, building a nest of stringy vegetation and cementing the materials to the rock with saliva. Two white, somewhat elongated eggs are laid.


The cave swiftlet has a very wide range and is common in Java and the nearby islands. It has no particular threats and the IUCN has listed it as being of "Least Concern". Although the overall population may be declining slightly, this is not believed to be at such a rate as would justify listing it in a more threatened category.

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