Fork-tailed Palm Swift (Tachornis squamata)

Fork-tailed Palm Swift

[order] APODIFORMES | [family] Apodidae | [latin] Tachornis squamata | [UK] Fork-tailed Palm Swift | [FR] Martinet claudia | [DE] Gabelschwanz-Segler | [ES] Vencejillo Tijereta | [NL] Braziliaanse Palmgierzwaluw


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range

Physical charateristics

Fork-tailed Palm Swift is a slender, narrow-winged species, 13.2 cm long, with a long forked tail, and weighs 11 g. The nominate western form T. s. squamata has black-brown upperparts with a slight greenish gloss. The underparts are a paler brown with a white throat and central underbody. The eastern race T. s. semota of Trinidad, the Guianas and central and eastern Brazil is much darker, almost steel-black above and darker brown below. Juveniles are very similar, but have buff fringes to the upperparts and head in fresh plumage.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 20 days incubation max.: 21 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 21 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


South America : Amazonia, East Brazil


This small swift is found locally in marshy habitats, or sometimes open forest, usually near Moriche Palms.


It builds a C-shaped nest of feathers, saliva and plant material on the inside of the dead leaf of a Moriche Palm. Three white eggs are laid in the depression of the C, and incubated for 21 days to hatching.

Feeding habits

Fork-tailed Palm Swift feeds in low flight on flying insects. It normally stays at less than 10 m above the ground. It normally occurs in small groups of up to 30 birds.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Fork-tailed Palm Swift status Least Concern


Sedentary throughout range with some vagrancy reported

Distribution map

Fork-tailed Palm Swift distribution range map

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