The white-rumped swift (Apus caffer) is a small swift. Although this bird is superficially similar to a house martin, it is not closely related to that passerine species. The resemblances between the swallows and swifts are due to convergent evolution reflecting similar life styles.

Swifts have very short legs that they use only for clinging to vertical surfaces. They never settle voluntarily on the ground, and spend most of their lives in the air, feeding on insects that they catch in their beaks. They drink on the wing.

White-rumped swifts breed in much of sub-Saharan Africa, and have expanded into Morocco and southern Spain. The populations in Spain, Morocco and the south of Africa are migratory, although their wintering grounds are not definitively known. Birds in tropical Africa are resident apart from seasonal movements.

This species appropriates the nests of little swifts and those swallows which build retort-shaped nests. In Europe and north Africa, this usually means the red-rumped swallow, but south of the Sahara other species like wire-tailed swallow are also parasitised. The original owners of the nests are driven away, or the white-rumps settle in the nest and refuse to move. Once occupied, the nest is lined with feathers and saliva, and one or two eggs are laid.

The habitat of this species is dictated by that of its hosts, and is therefore normally man-made structures such as bridges and buildings.

This 14-15.5 cm long species has, like its relatives, a short forked tail and long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. It is entirely dark except for a pale throat patch and a narrow white rump. It is similar to the closely related little swift, but is slimmer, darker and has a more forked tail and a narrower white rump.

This is a quiet species compared to little swift, but a twittering trill is sometimes given.
White-rumped Swift
Date Location Count
2020-11-27 17:30Windhoek--Avis Dam2
2020-11-20 09:47Bigodi Community Walk2
2020-11-14 06:34Kibale Forest Camp1
2020-11-21 05:49Angama Lodge (Ol Kurruk)2
2020-11-21 08:00Maasai Mara NR--Mara Triangle4
2020-11-15 10:18Maasai Mara NR--Northern section and boundaries2
2020-11-17 07:07Serengeti NP--Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge2
2020-11-15 09:03Serengeti NP--Visitor Center30
2020-11-13 08:37Kirstenhof Wetland2
2020-11-21 11:30Rondevlei Nature Reserve1
2020-11-09 09:45Paarl Mountain--Meulwater Wildflower Garden6
2020-10-31 07:22Stellenboschberg--Lower Trail10
2020-11-09 16:25Paardevlei5
2020-11-07 16:28Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary7
2020-11-10 14:41Tarangire NP--Entrance Gate1
2020-11-07 09:45Nairobi NP
2020-11-14 07:13Lewa Wildlife Conservancy1
2020-11-11 14:57Tarangire NP--Tarangire Safari Lodge2
2020-11-02 09:22Rooisand Nature Reserve4
2020-11-22 08:15Lukenya Hill (1600-1820m)
2020-11-12 16:43Momella Rd.--Usa River1
2020-11-08 06:25Amboseli NP2
2020-10-30 11:00Agulhas Plains (general area)4
2020-10-30 06:30De Hoop Nature Reserve10
2020-11-15 05:40Harare--Mukuvisi Woodlands4
2020-11-21 09:26Marakele NP
2020-11-15 07:34Pilanesberg NP--Mankwe Dam3
2020-11-15 05:31Pilanesberg NP--Kwa Maritane Game Drive4
2020-11-21 14:35Tsavo West NP (general)
2020-11-19 06:53Roodekopjes Dam Nature Reserve10
2020-11-22 06:06Breedtsnek Pass1
2020-11-27 09:54Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden4
2020-11-19 06:10Eagle Canyon Golf Estate1
2020-11-07 07:40Bishop Bird Park
2020-11-24 08:33University of Pretoria--Experimental Farm20
2020-11-15 06:05Candlewoods Wetland
2020-11-25 07:42Rietvlei Nature Reserve20
2020-11-26 06:37Norkem Park18
2020-11-15 06:49Mkhombo Nature Reserve
2020-11-15 05:40Thokoza Wetland5
2020-10-31 06:51Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve20
2020-11-07 06:01Old Verena Spa road1
2020-11-21 10:00Bitou River Valley6
2020-11-24 12:26Marievale Bird Sanctuary1
2020-11-21 07:00Piesang Valley and Estuary4
2020-11-18 11:46Shimba Hills NR--Shimba Hills Lodge4
2020-11-13 08:16Devon Grasslands IBA (Gauteng Province)3
2020-11-06 07:32Dullstroom5
2020-11-17 15:11Blyde River Canyon Resort
2020-11-18 15:52Ohrigstad Dam
2020-11-17 07:21Vaalhoek Road
2020-11-19 09:27Long Tom Pass
2020-11-20 10:15Bridal Veil Falls14
2020-11-17 11:41Motiatse Canyon PNR--God's Window
2020-11-21 05:15Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge1
2020-11-20 05:11Hazyview--Kruger Park Lodge4
2020-11-24 05:41Addo Elephant NP--Main Rest Camp4
2020-11-24 06:17Royal Natal NP2
2020-11-27 12:53Memel Vicinity--Rocky Cliffs1
2020-11-18 05:49Kruger NP--Phabeni Gate12
2020-11-15 05:25Wakkerstroom Lark Loop--Final 14 Km2
2020-11-21 07:17Happy Valley Nature Reserve3
2020-11-04 06:42Lion Sands Game Reserve2
2020-11-14 09:21Wakkerstroom area--Zaaihoek Dam to Groenvlei5
2020-11-13 13:35Wakkerstroom Wetland Reserve6
2020-11-06 09:41Lake Panic Bird Hide5
2020-11-14 06:28Groenvlei4
2020-11-26 05:18Kruger NP--S114 @ Biyamiti River4
2020-11-22 14:54Hawane Reservoir8
2020-11-21 07:00Giants Castle GR - Injisuthi
2020-11-06 04:30Kruger NP--Lower Sabie Rest Camp10
2020-11-27 05:30Sand River Reservoir2
2020-11-05 07:16Mondi Forests2
2020-11-15 05:24Mount Moreland IBA
2020-11-02 16:22Mtunzini (general area)5