Alpine Swift ( Tachymarptis melba, family: apodidae)

alpine swift kruger national park birds The Alpine Swift (Latin name Tachymarptis melba) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 418 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 234 also a picture of the Alpine Swift on page 257. The Alpine Swift belongs to the family of birds classified as apodidae.

The Robert's 7 Latin name for Alpine Swift has changed from Apus melba in Robert's 6 to Tachymarptis melba

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 Alpine Swift is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

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

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 Alpine Swift is a small bird about the size of a house sparrow. Do not take this relative indicator as anything other than a rough easy to remember indicator. It is not a accurate visualization. The height of the Alpine Swift is about 15 cms and its weight is about 75 gms

The male and female Alpine Swift have the same plumage and colours

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

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Alpine Swift feeds on wing mainly


Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Alpine Swift is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Tachymarptis melba will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Alpine 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 1 to 2

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Alpine Swift are: grasslands

You will normally see the Alpine Swift in flocks.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Ihlabankomo/Ubhantom

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Witpenswindswael

German ... Alpensegler

Portuguese ... Andorinho-real

French ... Martinet ventre blanc

Dutch ... Alpengierzwaluw

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

Robert's 7th edition number ... 418

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 ,