This is a fast flying bird of open country, which is strongly associated with oil palms. This 16 cm long species is mainly pale brown in colour. It has long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. The body is slender, and the tail is long and deeply forked, although it is usually held closed. The call is a loud, shrill scream. Sexes are similar, and young birds differ mainly in their shorter tails. Palm swifts have very short legs which they use only for clinging to vertical surfaces, since swifts never settle voluntarily on the ground.


Habitat and Distribution

It is a common resident breeder in tropical Africa.


Feeding

These swifts spend most of their lives in the air, living on the insects they catch in their beaks. Palm swifts often feed near the ground. They drink on the wing.


Breeding

The down and feather nest is glued to the underside of a palm leaf with saliva, which is also used to secure the usually two eggs.