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
2021-05-10 08:00PN Vale do Guadiana--Pulo do Lobo1
2021-05-16 16:47PN Vale do Guadiana--Complexo Mineiro da Mina de São Domingos1
2021-05-11 18:04Monfragüe PN--Castillo2
2021-05-12 20:15Los Alcornocales PNat--Autovía Jerez-Los Barrios KM 541
2021-04-25 11:00Algodonales--Campiña1
2021-05-16 19:32Alía--Estrecho de la Peña Amarilla2
2021-04-28 07:45Capilla--Sierra del Palenque1
2021-05-11 12:42Lagunas de Campillos--Laguna Dulce1
2021-04-23 14:30Swakopmund--Salt Works4
2021-04-23 08:09Gobabeb Training & Research Center3
2021-04-21 09:40Windhoek National Botanical Gardens
2021-04-20 12:40Queen Elizabeth II NP--Channel Track5
2021-05-01 06:39Murchison Falls NP--Paraa Safari Lodge to Tangi Gate6
2021-04-27 07:41Kidepo Valley NP--Narus River6
2021-05-05 08:00Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve--Mbale-Moroto Rd4
2021-05-09 11:02Maasai Mara NR--Mara Triangle
2021-05-15 09:53Maasai Mara NR--Little Governor's Camp
2021-05-01 06:00Serengeti NP--Seronera10
2021-04-19 06:28Lake Baringo--Inshore Cliffs and surrounds4
2021-05-09 13:00Naboisho Conservancy
2021-05-12 09:25Lake Baringo--West Shore (incl. Baringo Club and Robert's Camp and airstrip)3
2021-05-15 07:26Menagesha Forest1
2021-05-08 06:00Royal Zambezi Lodge6
2021-05-08 06:37Lower Zambezi NP1
2021-05-10 14:20Narok (general)10
2021-05-08 15:29Soysambu Conservency13
2021-05-08 07:25Lake Naivasha--Camp Carnelley's and Fisherman's Camp
2021-05-08Ngorongoro Conservation Area--Ngorongoro Crater
2021-05-12 06:19Segera Retreat (Restricted access)10
2021-05-08 06:25El Karama Ranch Eco Lodge
2021-04-25 08:46Ol Pejeta Conservancy6
2021-04-21 06:09South Luangwa NP
2021-04-22 08:45South Luangwa NP--Mfuwe Lodge
2021-05-06 09:52Mount Kenya Safari Club/William Holden Wildlife Foundation4
2021-05-08 11:52Ngong Forest Sanctuary (west section)
2021-05-08 11:21Borana Conservancy10
2021-05-08 06:50Nairobi NP--Nagolomon Dam2
2021-05-14 09:09Nairobi NP6
2021-05-08 07:05Dandora WTP, Ruai19
2021-05-08 09:42Thika Wastewater Treatment Plant6
2021-05-08 06:18Eluanata Dam
2021-05-08 09:55Ol Doinyo Sabuk NP1
2021-05-08 11:42Masinga Dam8
2021-04-25 06:06Madikwe Game Reserve1
2021-05-08 07:50Danish Forest1
2021-05-08 16:09Amboseli NP8
2021-05-08 12:35Satao Elerai Camp8
2021-05-08 07:57Harare--Mukuvisi Woodlands1
2021-04-27 07:07Bierspruitdam8
2021-04-29 05:28Pilanesberg NP (please be more specific)6
2021-04-25 16:59Pilanesberg NP--Pilanesberg Center2
2021-05-08 09:23Rockwall Dam2
2021-04-25 07:10Zaagkuildrift Rd (Please be more specific; Do not log Kgomo-Kgomo birds here.)6
2021-05-07 07:02Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden1
2021-05-01 07:05Kloofendal Municipal Nature Reserve3
2021-05-17 06:45Eagle Canyon Golf Estate2
2021-05-08 16:14Beaulieu Bird Sanctuary6
2021-05-14 06:45Northcliff Ridge Eco Park1
2021-05-08 07:08Glen Austin Bird Sanctuary6
2021-04-27 09:04Kempton Park1
2021-04-24 11:00Mkhombo Nature Reserve3
2021-05-08 06:19Nyanga NP3
2021-05-02 10:04Garingboom Guest Farm3
2021-04-25 09:36Wilge River Valley (upper)2
2021-05-15 14:00Loskop Dam Nature Reserve3
2021-04-23 07:30Leeupan (Mpumalanga Province)12
2021-04-28 12:33Kruger NP--Mooiplaas Picnic Site10
2021-04-26 08:48Harrismith4
2021-04-29 14:35Kruger NP--Olifants Camp12
2021-04-24 06:22Steiltes Nature Reserve1
2021-04-25 06:51Kruger NP--Phabeni to Skukuza3
2021-04-27 13:33Kruger NP--Skukuza Golf Club5
2021-04-27 10:54Kruger NP--Skukuza Camp1
2021-04-25 06:54Kruger NP--Napi Rd to Skukuza/H1-1
2021-04-26 07:03R600--Winterton to Champagne Castle6
2021-04-27 10:30Pietermaritzburg--Cumberland NR1
2021-04-29 06:00Phinda GR