Indian spine tailed swift

To: "Strom, Kristine" <>
Subject: Indian spine tailed swift
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2005 22:25:56 +1000
Hi Kristine,
You will probably get lots of replies. The Spine-tailed Swift, is also known as White-throated Needletail (note the spelling). It has the scientific name of Hirundapus caudacutus and the bit about small spines projecting from its tail feathers is also correct - nearly. Except it is not spines at all, it is just that the web of the feathers finishes before the tip, so the quill extends beyond the web. So that bit is OK.
However it is most definitely NOT a member of the Kingfisher family (one could say, which Kingfisher family, there being two)  of birds (on even the Kingfisher order of birds, Order Coraciiformes) nor even remotely close in appearance or lifestyle to any Kingfisher (although the Bee-eaters that are in the same order but not family as Kingfishers at least share with swifts the lifestyle of being aerial hunters of insects). The White-throated Needletail is a swift (Order Apodiformes) and no doubt Encyclopaedia Britannica already has a good article about swifts. It should not be hard to find a photo of it. There are any number of photos of it (though few good ones of live wild birds). 
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