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
2021-02-04 12:30Duabeng, Twifo2
2021-02-23 08:00Semuliki NP1
2021-02-19 07:15Queen Elizabeth II NP--Lake Bunyampaka20
2021-02-20 16:30Chimpanzee Guesthouse20
2021-02-24 09:05Kibale Forest NP--North end2
2021-02-21 07:00Kibale Forest NP20
2021-02-08 11:26Bigodi Swamp2
2021-02-25 09:00Budongo Forest Reserve--Royal Mile2
2021-02-23 08:23Nyaruhuru River @ Akagera Rd
2021-02-26 05:59Angama Lodge (Ol Kurruk)2
2021-02-05 06:18Maasai Mara NR--Mara Triangle2
2021-03-03 10:45Serengeti NP--Visitor Center1
2021-02-05 16:20Maasai Mara NR--Aruba Mara Camp & Talek Gate
2021-02-28 08:53Groot Winterhoek Wilderness--Trailhead/Upper Canyons1
2021-02-12 17:21Intaka Island1
2021-02-28 07:15Kommetjie--Lighthouse10
2021-02-17 09:30Rondevlei Nature Reserve2
2021-02-03 08:00Lake Naivasha--Crescent Camp4
2021-03-02 12:15Strandfontein WTP1
2021-02-27 07:09Ceres--Road to dam2
2021-02-28 06:48Michell's Pass1
2021-02-05 07:20Koloniesland Trail2
2021-02-11 08:01Helderberg Nature Reserve3
2021-03-03 16:42Naro Moru River Lodge1
2021-02-08 06:55Upper Magadi Road (from Corner Baridi to Oltepesi/Olorgesaillie)1
2021-02-20 13:05Karen Country Club2
2021-02-07 14:48Kabete Dam (Gatara River)
2021-02-06 08:30Sigiri (Gigiri) Forest
2021-02-21 07:06Nairobi NP
2021-03-01 06:19Marakele NP2
2021-02-05 16:01Karoo NP--Main Rest Camp4
2021-02-28 07:49Abe Bailey Nature Reserve10
2021-02-04 09:47Tsavo East NP--Voi Wildlife Lodge4
2021-02-14 12:29Zaagkuildrift--Roets' Farm5
2021-02-11 09:40Houtrivier Dam1
2021-02-09 15:00Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden5
2021-02-11 05:51Diepsloot Nature Reserve2
2021-02-19 08:00Eagle Canyon Golf Estate6
2021-02-20 12:51Dainfern3
2021-03-01 12:15Golden Harvest Park6
2021-02-20 07:15Northcliff Ridge Eco Park1
2021-02-13 16:21President Ridge Bird Sanctuary6
2021-02-10 06:39Rietfontein Nature Reserve4
2021-02-20 06:33Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve27
2021-02-03 06:45Naturena20
2021-02-27 08:49Rietvlei Nature Reserve3
2021-02-14 06:14Mkhombo Nature Reserve1
2021-02-21 06:00Thokoza Wetland2
2021-02-13 17:57Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve--northeast corner15
2021-02-12 07:48Bitou River Valley4
2021-02-12 10:12Piesang Valley and Estuary8
2021-02-13 07:38Keurbooms River Estuary4
2021-02-12 16:24Robberg Nature Reserve5
2021-02-19 05:16Kruger NP--Punda Maria Camp15
2021-02-27 08:35Devon Grasslands IBA (Mpumalanga Province)1
2021-02-20 04:57Kruger NP--Bridge over Luvuvhu River2
2021-02-20 08:57Kruger NP--Pafuri Picnic Site1
2021-02-15 06:30Leeupan (Mpumalanga Province)8
2021-02-10 13:42Kruger NP--Babalala Picnic Spot3
2021-02-11 06:27Hazyview--Kruger Park Lodge5
2021-02-10 16:31Singita Ebony Lodge1
2021-02-12 17:48Volksrust4
2021-02-10 05:15Mala-Mala Game Reserve1
2021-02-08 06:18Wakkerstroom area (Please be more specific)5
2021-02-06 21:06Kruger NP--Skukuza Camp1
2021-02-28 07:00Happy Valley Road4
2021-02-09 11:15Maloti-Drakensberg Park--Highmoor NR8
2021-02-07 06:23Midmar Dam--South Shore (Thurlow Gate)2
2021-02-20 06:50Cedara Agricultural College Conservancy2
2021-02-03 16:38Hilton--Mondi Forests10
2021-02-08 11:30Hilton--Doreen Clark NR2
2021-02-20 17:02Pietermaritzburg--Waltdorf Estate2
2021-03-02 07:31Pietermaritzburg--Darvill Resources Park10
2021-02-13 07:05Hole in the Wall5
2021-02-07 05:34Manyoni GR (please be more specific)6
2021-02-21 06:20Sibaya Coastal Forest Reserve5
2021-02-20 14:45Umhlanga Lagoon NR4
2021-02-23 05:00Phinda GR1