birding-aus Swift ID, help please !

Subject: birding-aus Swift ID, help please !
From: "Michael Ramsey" <>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 18:41:32 EST
Hello all,

I recently visited New Caledonia and Vanuatu and whilst I had little time to do any birdwatching I did notice a some swift species that I had no idea how to identify (not having any field guide also did not help). Here is a summary of the places and basic observations I saw and had of the swifts. Any help finding out what they were would be great.

1) Noumea. Small(i.e 10-11cm)with bright white rump, round wings, greyish belly, darker upperparts. Soft grey appearence to all of plumage. Weird, varied twittering call. In group of approx. 100. 2) Port Vila. Small, rounded wings and as above but with brighter white rump and no grey belly. All over darker and slightly glossy. In rainforest near waterfall. Group of 10-15. 3) Port Vila. Small and as above with rounded wings but no white or any markings at all. Group of 50 near beach over rainforest. 4)Port Vila. Larger than others (12-13cm). All over very dark charcoal colour with no other discernable markings. More pointed wings than others and flight less fluttery, more direct. Only 2 seen at a wharf. 5)Espiritu Santo (island). 12 cm approx with rounded wings.Slightly Glossy black all over except for a bright white rump and belly. Only one seen along a beach.

I have considered some may be subspecies of the same species (basically 1,2 and 5) but 3 and 4 definately appeared different to the others. I know this may not be enough info but any help would be appreciated. Also in Noumea I saw a Zosterops (white-eye) species that I also cannot ID. It was larger than a Silvereye with greenish plumage aaaand a yellow belly (and yellowish head though not sure of that).It had a larger white eye-ring than a Silverye and its call was not as high pitched as that species.

Thanks all,
M.Ramsey, Parkville.

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