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
2020-02-18 18:05Popa Falls1
2020-02-13 07:02Queen Elizabeth II NP10
2020-02-03 07:15Chimpanzee Guesthouse8
2020-01-26 06:47Nyabarongo River
2020-02-13 10:35Nkima Forest Lodge2
2020-01-30 09:34Angama Lodge (Ol Kurruk)1
2020-02-04 07:15Masaai Mara NR--Mara River (North)2
2020-02-04 12:00Maasai Mara NR--Mara River Bridge & Hippo Pond1
2020-02-09 10:58Serengeti NP--Kubu Kubu Tented Lodge2
2020-02-23 06:27Kliphoek Salt Pans10
2020-02-11 09:00Serengeti NP--Visitor Center10
2020-02-13 06:30Serengeti NP6
2020-01-29 10:18Lake Baringo--Inshore Cliffs and surrounds
2020-02-21 01:33Serengeti NP--Lobo Wildlife Lodge5
2020-02-19 06:30Serengeti NP--Klein's Camp
2020-02-03 07:42Strandfontein WTP7
2020-02-15 08:53Ngorongoro Conservation Area--Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge2
2020-02-04 09:12Paarl Mountain--Meulwater Wildflower Garden1
2020-01-30 16:30Paardevlei5
2020-02-08 15:36Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary1
2020-02-03 11:50Harold Porter Botanical Gardens2
2020-02-13 07:21Kfeet, Wetlands & Lily Lake, Karura Forest4
2020-02-17 07:21Karura Forest, Muthaiga2
2020-02-09 08:08Nairobi NP--Nagolomon Dam8
2020-01-25 08:36Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club, Marurui10
2020-02-22 11:30Nairobi NP5
2020-02-13 12:07Tarangire NP--Tarangire Safari Lodge30
2020-02-19 07:15Tarangire NP--Lemiyon Circuit Grasslands6
2020-01-28 11:21JK International Airport, Embakasi3
2020-02-20 07:00Tarangire NP2
2020-02-01 07:40Swara Plains Conservancy and Acacia Camp (formerly Hopcraft Ranch/Game Ranching Ltd.)5
2020-02-16 08:04Arusha NP50
2020-02-22 16:41Lake Duluti Lodge3
2020-02-21 09:00Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge3
2020-01-25 08:02Kilimanjaro Golf & Wildlife Estate5
2020-02-16 16:58Benfontein Nature Reserve1
2020-02-09 06:04Zaagkuildrift Rd (Please be more specific)
2020-02-20 07:19Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden2
2020-02-02 10:34Rooiwal WTP3
2020-02-16 06:49Eagle Canyon Golf Estate10
2020-02-19 09:01Golden Harvest Park16
2020-01-29 16:52Norscot Koppies Kingfisher Nature Reserve6
2020-02-18 08:38Jukskei River2
2020-02-03 09:34President Ridge Bird Sanctuary3
2020-02-10 09:24Wilderness NP--Rondevlei Bird Hide1
2020-02-15 14:55Rietvlei Nature Reserve2
2020-02-14 17:22OR Tambo International Airport4
2020-02-15 08:28Modder River bridge, Maselspoort3
2020-02-23 06:30Bronkhorstspruit Dam
2020-02-15 14:02Marievale Bird Sanctuary4
2020-01-26 08:20Marievale Bird Sanctuary--Otter Hide1
2020-02-16 07:50Nature's Valley1
2020-01-25 02:50Loskop Dam Nature Reserve25
2020-01-25 02:06Kruger NP--Mahonie Loop/S99
2020-01-25 16:50Arabuko-Sokoke Forest--Swamp
2020-02-02 06:19Mwamba Field Study Centre3
2020-02-18 11:10Tsitsikamma NP--Storms River Mouth (Lourie and Blue Duiker Trails)6
2020-02-08 06:55Kruger NP--Babalala Picnic Spot16
2020-02-03Hannah Game Lodge10
2020-02-19 07:22Addo Elephant NP--Main Rest Camp2
2020-02-23 06:04Coega Salt Works1
2020-02-23 06:13Tankatara Road2
2020-02-22 10:13Sabi Sands Game Reserve--Tydon Safari Camp5
2020-02-16 04:00Kruger NP--Voortrekker Rd/H2-2
2020-02-20 06:15Wakkerstroom bridge/causeway
2020-02-18 17:20Wakkerstroom Wetlands--Clive Beck Hide3
2020-02-08 15:15Mooi River7
2020-02-08 10:00Durban - Point area1