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Uniform Swiftlet
05 39 031 Aerodramus vanikorensis vanikorensis
Aerodramus vanikorensis vanikorensis
Information
Common Name Vanikoro and Lowland Swiftlet
Range Philippines through Wallacea, New Guinea and Melanesia.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Class Aves
Order Apodiformes
Family Apodidae
Genus Aerodramus
Species Aerodramus vanikorensis
Conservation Status
LCSpecies
Least Concern

The Uniform swiftlet (Aerodramus vanikorensis), also known as the Vanikoro or lowland swiftlet, is a species of gregarious, medium-sized swiftlet with a shallowly forked tail. The coloring is dark grey-brown, darker on the upperparts with somewhat paler underparts, especially on chin and throat. This species is widespread from the Philippines through Wallacea, New Guinea and Melanesia. It forages for flying insects primarily in lowland forests and open areas. It nests in caves where it uses its sense of echolocation, rare in birds, to navigate.

Taxonomy

Several subspecies are recognised, and the form Aerodramus vanikorensis inquietus is often split as the island swiftlet (Aerodramus inquietus).

Description

The uniform swiftlet is a gregarious, medium-sized swiftlet with a shallowly forked tail. It is about 13 cm long with a wingspan averaging around 27 cm. It weighs about 11 grams. The colouring is dark grey-brown, darker on the upperparts with paler underparts, especially on chin and throat. It is similar to, and most likely to be confused with, the white-rumped swiftlet or mountain swiftlet.

Distribution

This species is widespread from the Philippines through Wallacea, New Guinea and Melanesia. It has been recorded as a rare vagrant to Australia, from Cape York Peninsula and islands in Torres Strait.

Habitat

The uniform swiftlet forages over lowland forests and open areas. It roosts in caves and sinkholes, mostly in limestone areas. The caves may be as little as 10 m (33 ft) long but are usually much larger. Sometimes man-made tunnels or structures are used.

Food

This species feeds on flying insects, especially ants.

Breeding

This species nests colonially in caves where it uses echolocation to navigate. The nest is a shallow cup of mossy material and saliva, usually attached to a vertical surface of a cave wall in the completely dark zone. On Guam, Neckeropsis lepiniana, is used as the nesting material and in Hawaii, a liverwort (Herberta spp.) is used. One or two white eggs form the clutch. The incubation period is at least twelve days and the young may take thirty-five days to fledge.

Status

The uniform swiftlet has a very large range and that they are locally common and in some places abundant within that range. The population has not been quantified but is believed to be stable. The birds face no particular threats, and as a result, the IUCN has listed it as being of "Least Concern".

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