The brown-backed needletail (Hirundapus giganteus), or brown needletail, is a large swift.

These birds have very short legs which they use only mainly for clinging to vertical surfaces. They never settle voluntarily on the ground and spend most of their lives in the air, living on the insects they catch in their beaks.

These swifts are resident breeders in hill forests in southern Asia from India east to Indonesia and the Philippines.

They build their nests in rock crevices in cliffs, laying 3-5 eggs. The flight is impressively fast, even compared to other swifts.

The brown-backed needletail is a very large swift, and at 23 cm is bigger than the Alpine swift and the white-throated needletail. It has a similar build to the latter species, with a heavy barrel-like body. They are dark brown except for a white undertail, which extends on to the flanks.

The Hirundapus needletailed swifts get their name from the spiny end to the tail, which is not forked as in the Apus typical swifts.
Brown-backed Needletail
Date Location Count
2020-11-16 07:36Gujjarbettu Paddyfields2
2020-11-05 07:46Golikatte1
2020-11-27 08:00Vattappoyil1
2020-11-03 07:33Bababudan Hills--Kemmengundi5
2020-11-07 14:30Kannur Forest Division--Punneri6
2020-11-04 10:52Vazhoorhills,Vazhayur, Kerala1
2020-10-29 08:00Kadayiruppu--Spice Villas3
2020-11-27 18:06Sinharaja NP--Rainforest Ecolodge5
2020-11-12 06:01Ograbraj Wetlands2
2020-11-10 16:01Mount Harriet3
2020-11-01 07:15Chidiyatapu2
2020-11-26 05:50Chidiya Tapu1
2020-11-20 15:02Mangrove Walkway, Dhani Nallah2
2020-11-23 07:15Yeretta, Middle Andaman1
2020-11-07 06:30Radhanagar beach, Havelock island1
2020-11-15 08:54Khao Dinsor (Khao Dinso) / Chumphon Raptor Center1
2020-11-22 05:56Mu Ko Lanta NP--headquarters3
2020-11-07 07:15Chuping Sugar Cane Plantation1
2020-11-22 09:15Sungai Burung, Pulau Pinang2
2020-11-21 06:30Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera)5
2020-11-01 05:45Phou Phanang--Ban Ang (Wealth Coffee)20
2020-11-16 14:30Bukit Timah Nature Reserve1
2020-11-20 07:26CCNR--Jelutong Tower1
2020-11-21 07:17Kratie--sur le Mékong et environs3
2020-11-21 12:00Kratie--boat trip4
2020-11-23 05:52Dak Dam4
2020-11-05 09:00Bukit Paralayang5
2020-11-08 17:00Sejingkat Power Station Ash Ponds3