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Schoutedenapus myoptilus (Scarce swift)

Skaarswindswael [Afrikaans]; Shoa-gierzwaluw [Dutch]; Martinet de Shoa [French]; Maussegler [German]; Andorinhão de Shoa [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

Schoutedenapus myoptilus (Scarce swift)  

Scarce swift, Tanzania. [photo Martin Goodey ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs in Uganda, Kenya and eastern DRC, with small, isolated populations elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.  Within southern Africa it is restricted to Zimbabwe's eastern highlands and adjacent Mozambique. It generally prefers crags and precipices in moist forest highlands, especially if near a waterfall.

Distribution of Scarce 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).

Movements and migrations

It is thought to be a breeding migrant to eastern Zimbabwe, staying from about July-March.


Mainly eats flying insects, such as ant and termite alates, sometimes joining mixed-species foraging flocks.


Barely anything is known about its breeding habits, besides that egg-laying season is from September-January and it probably nests in large fissures in high rock cliffs.


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.