African Black Swift ( Apus barbatus, family: apodidae)

Birds & Birding in the Kruger National Park South Africa. In Roberts 6 this bird was called Black Swift

African black swift kruger national park birds The African Black Swift (Latin name Apus barbatus) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 412 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 238 also a picture of the African Black Swift on page 257. The African Black Swift belongs to the family of birds classified as apodidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the African Black Swift is also known by these other names: African Swift, Bearded Swift.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the African Black Swift was called the Black Swift

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The African Black Swift is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a rare summer resident

In terms of distribution of the African Black Swift in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. African Black Swift : see above distribution map.

The African Black Swift.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The African Black Swift is an extremely small bird about half the size of a house sparrow. The height of the African Black Swift is about 19 cms and its weight is about 42 gms

The male and female African Black Swift have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is grey, brown.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is white.
  • Back is black.
  • Legs are pink.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The African Black Swift feeds on wing mainly


Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The African Black Swift is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Apus barbatus will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of African Black Swift is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 2

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for African Black Swift are: grasslands

You will normally see the African Black Swift by itself rather than in the company of birds of the same species.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Ihlabankomo/Ihlankomo

Zulu ... iHlabankomo/iHlolamvula/iJankomo

Afrikaans ...Swartwindswael

German ... Kapsegler

Portuguese ... Andorinho-preto-africano

French ... Martinet du Cap

Dutch ... Kaapse Gierzwaluw

First bird in list | Previous bird viewed | Next KNP bird | Last bird in list

For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 412

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,