Swifts (Apodidae)

Alpine Swift (Tachymarptis melba) - HBW 5, p. 451

French: Martinet à ventre blanc German: Alpensegler Spanish: Vencejo Real
Other common names: Ceylon White-bellied Swift (bakeri)

Taxonomy: Hirundo Melba Linnaeus, 1758, Gibraltar.
Genus Tachymarptis has commonly been merged into Apus, but nowadays increasingly separated; differs in feather lice, foot structure of nestling, large size and tendency towards white underparts. Race of Mali birds not yet established, but their isolation from other breeding populations suggests it could be an undescribed race. Proposed race striatus from Mt Kenya is synonym of africanus. Subspecies name dorabtatai often misspelt dorobtatai. Ten subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • melba (Linnaeus, 1758) - S Europe through Asia Minor to NW Iran; winters in W & E Africa.
  • tuneti (Tschusi, 1904) - C & E Morocco through Middle East and Iran (except NW) to SE Kazakhstan and W Pakistan; winters in W & E Africa.
  • archeri (Hartert, 1928) - Somalia, SW Arabia N to Dead Sea depression.

     See all 10 subspecies
  • melba (Linnaeus, 1758) - S Europe through Asia Minor to NW Iran; winters in W & E Africa.
  • tuneti (Tschusi, 1904) - C & E Morocco through Middle East and Iran (except NW) to SE Kazakhstan and W Pakistan; winters in W & E Africa.
  • archeri (Hartert, 1928) - Somalia, SW Arabia N to Dead Sea depression.
  • maximus (Ogilvie-Grant, 1907) - Mt Ruwenzori (Uganda/Zaire).
  • africanus (Temminck, 1815) - E & S Africa and SW Angola; S birds winter in E Africa.
  • marjoriae (Bradfield, 1935) - Namibia to NW Cape (South Africa).
  • willsi (Hartert, 1896) - Madagascar.
  • nubifuga (Koelz, 1954) - Himalayas; winters in C India.
  • dorabtatai (Abdulali, 1965) - W peninsular India.
  • bakeri (Hartert, 1928) - Sri Lanka.