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Apus bradfieldi (Bradfield's swift)

Muiskleurwindswael [Afrikaans]; Damara-gierzwaluw [Dutch]; Martinet de Bradfield [French]; Damarasegler [German]; Andorinhão de Bradfield [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Apodiformes > Family: Apodidae

Apus bradfieldi (Bradfield's swift) Apus bradfieldi (Bradfield's swift)

Bradfield's swift, Mariental, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Bradfield's swift at nest in palm fronds. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

Near endemic to southern Africa, occurring from south-western Angola to Namibia and the Northern Cape. It generally prefers arid habitats, such as desert and open savanna, often rocky, mountainous areas. It forages in flocks, almost exclusively eating termite alates, bees and other flying insects. Its breeding habits are little known, however it is thought to be a monogamous colonial nester. The nest is a makeshift half cup, made of plant material and feathers glued together with saliva. They are usually grouped in colonies, often in rock crevices, buildings, mine workings and dead fronds of alien palm trees (see image above).

Distribution of Bradfield's swift in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.