Swiftlets or Zirondel in Creole are fast and accurate fliers and spend most of their life in the air. They feed by catching small flying insects in their mouth as they fly.
The tiny cup-shaped nests made of plants scraps stuck together with saliva are attached to the walls or ceilings of caves.
|Seychelles swiftlets and nests © Jeff Watson|
Inside the caves, swiftlets find their way using echolocation. You are most likely to see feeding groups of swiftlets in the morning or late afternoon, or in cloudy weather when they fly closer to the ground. The Seychelles Swiftlet does not seem to be in immediate danger of extinction but we still know little about its habits and where it nests.
Scientific name: Aerodramus elaphrus
Population in Seychelles: Studies in 1996-1997 estimated the total population at 2,500-3,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 1,700-2,000 mature individuals.
Distribution in Seychelles: Breeds on Mahe, Praslin, La Digue, but sometimes seen on other islands
Habitat: Forest, wetlands, gardens, agricultural and urban areas
Nest: Nest communally in caves; mall cup-shaped nests are built of plant matter and saliva. One egg laid
Diet: Flying insects
Identification: A small all-brown bird with long, pointed wings. Usually seen flying