Friday, November 28, 2014

Vagrant Swifts (Family: Apodidae) recorded in Sri Lanka

Birds that appear outside their normal range are known as vagrants. This post summarizes up to date published sight records of four unconfirmed vagrants* of the family Apodidae (Swifts ) in Sri Lanka.

*Species for which there are only one or two sight records exist categorized here as unconfirmed vagrants. Problematic records without sufficient details are also included.

1) White-throated Needletail (Hirundapus caudacutus)
Amila Salgado reported a sight record of White-throated Needletail first time in Sri Lanka in Pokunutenna (located in the North-Eastern boundary of the Udawalawe national park) on 22nd February 2007. He had observed several of them in a flock of swifts which included little swifts, Indian swiftlets and Asian palm swifts. He has also mentioned about a sight record of this swift in 2003 at Sinharaja by a visiting bird watcher though which was not reported formerly (Salgado A., 2007). A sight record of two White-throated Needletails on 19th February 2003 in Sinharaja is mentioned under ‘List of rejections (after 1990)’ of Ceylon bird club ( This is probably the same sight record Salgado was referring above.

     2) Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
A swift probably of this species was photographed in South-east Sri Lanka (Rasmussen P.C. and Anderton J.C., 2012: 259-260)

     3) Fork-tailed Swift [Pacific Swift/Large White-rumped swift] (Apus pacificus)
First record in Sri Lanka by Deepal Warakagoda from Bundala national Park in 28th November 1996 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1997 & Warakagoda, D., 1999).  A sight record by M.J. Pointon (UK) at Bentota in December 1997 is the second record of it in Sri Lanka (Hoffmann, T. W., 1999). However another record is given as the second report of it in/near Yala Block 1 by Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U. in the summery of bird club notes for 2008-2010 periods (Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011)

     4) Dark-rumped Swift (Apus acuticauda)
A sight record at Kandy in February 1993 by A.J. Vincent is the only record (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G., 2010: 257)


Hoffmann, T. W., 1999. Ceylon Bird Club Notes, 1997. Loris, 22(1), 57-58.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1997. Ceylon Bird Club Notes 1996. Loris, 21(3), 112-113.
Kotagama, S., Ratnavira, G. 2010. An illustrated Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka. Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, Colombo.
Rasmussen P.C. and Anderton J.C., 2012. Birds of South Asia - The Repley Guide Volume 2 Attributes and Status, second edition.
Salgado A., 2007. A sight record of White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus in Pokunutenna, Sri Lanka Siyoth 2(2): 43.
Warakagoda, D., 1999. Ceylon Bird Club Notes,1998. Loris, 22(2), 33-34.
Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2008-2011, Loris 26 (1&2)

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